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Founcifd in 1947 on the Cincinnati 
cainpus of the Hebrew Union College - 
Jewish Institute of Religion, the American 
Jewish Archives has become, in its first 
decade of existence, a major research cen- 
ter for American Jewish history. This vol- 
ume is published as a Festschrift in tribute 
to the Archives and its director and guiding 
spirit, Jacob Rader Marcus. The score 
of essays comprising it have been written 
by noted scholars and range over the field 
from the sale of a slave in the Brooklyn of 
1683 to the activities of a highly-placed 
American Jewish leader at the post-war 
peace conference of 1919; from a gene- 
alogical study of American Jewry in the 
Colonial and Early National periods to an 
investigation of the American Jew's role 
in the United States of today. Many of 
the essays cast new light on important 
figures like Isaac M. Wise, Isaac Leeser, 
David Einhorn, Bernhard Felsenthal, and 
Cyrus Adler, while others explore some 
hitherto little-known aspects of the Jewish 
experience in America early American 
Jewish Hebrew scholarship, for example. 
An intriguing picture of American Jewish 
economic, cultural, and political life 
emerges from this Festschrift to constitute 
another contribution to the small, but 
growing, body of literature on which rest 
the foundations of American Jewish history 
as a scientific discipline. 

Jacket design: Maurice Delcgator 

3 1148 00132 6859 

296 Hi6e 60-02002 
Hebrew Union College- Jewish 
Institute of Religion 
Essays in American Jewish history 



Director of the American Jewish Archives 

Since Its Inception 


To Commemorate the Tenth Anniversary 
of the Founding 

of the 

under the direction of 



Published on 

of the 

Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 58-12939 



On the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College - 

Jewish Institute of Religion 


PRESS OF G^^xw^e^ALoxb^ INC. 

224 N, 1STH ST., PHILXDELroiA 2, PENNA. 








Tenth Anniversary Volume 





Nelson Glueck xi 

In Appreciation 

Bertram W. Korn xiii 

Jacob Rader Marcus A Biographical Sketch 

Stanley F. Chyet i 

A Decisive Pattern in American Jewish History 

Ellis Rivkin * 23 

The Sale of a Negro Slave in Brooklyn in 1 683 

Abraham G. Duker 63 

The Function of Genealogy in American Jewish History 

Malcolm H. Stern 69 

The Henry Joseph Collection of the Gratz Family Papers at the 
American Jewish Archives 
M . Arthur Oles 99 

Hebrew Grammar and Textbook Writing in Early Nineteenth- 
Century America 
William Chomsky 123 

The Founders of "Wissenschaft des Judentums" and America 

Guido Kisch 147 

Some Conclusions About Rebecca Gratz 

Joseph R. Rosenbloom 171 

Some Unrecorded American Judaica Printed Before 1851 

Edwin Wolf 2nd 187 

The Motivation of the German Jewish Emigration to America in 
the Post-Mendelssohnian Era 
Selma Stern- Taeubltr 247 




The Economic Life of the American Jew in the Middle Nineteenth 
Allan Tarshish 263 

A Retrospective View of Isaac Leeser's Biblical Work 

Matitiahu Tsevat 295 

David Einhorn: Some Aspects of His Thinking 

Bernhard N. Cokn , 315 

Isaac Mayer Wise's "Jesus Himself" 

Samuel Sandmel 325 

The Temple Emanu-El Theological Seminary of New York City 

Bertram W. Korn 359 

The Semikah of the Rev. Dr. Kaufmann Kohler 

Joshua Block 373 

Bernhard Felsenthal's Letters to Osias Schorr 

Ezra Spicehandler and Theodore Wiener 379 

Rabbi Sabato Morais* Report on the Hebrew Education Society 
of Philadelphia 
Menahem G. Glenn 407 

The Role of Wolf Schur as Hebraist and Zionist 

Jacob Kabakoff 

The Human Record: Cyrus Adler at the Peace Conference, 1919 
Moshe Davis 

The Writings of Jacob Rader Marcus 

Compiled by Herbert C, Zjafren 493 


Compiled by Abraham I. Shinedling 513 


JL.N 1947, by action of the Board of Governors, the 
American Jewish Archives was organized on the Cincinnati 
campus of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of 

The Archives' steady growth, indeed its emergence as a 
unique institution in American Jewish life, has been due 
primarily to the gifted direction which it has received from 
Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish 
History. The able leadership which he has supplied has turned 
the Archives from a bare idea into a living reality. The assem- 
bling of archival material necessary to describe the history of 
Jews in this country was the first step. Thereafter, Dr. Marcus 
proceeded, constantly with the strong support of our Board of 
Governors, to establish a photoduplication laboratory and to 
borrow important materials for photostating or microfilming. 
Thus, within the relatively short space of a decade, the American 
Jewish Archives has succeeded in assembling over 1,000,000 
pages of documentary correspondence, diaries, and congrega- 
tional minutes, much of it of great historical importance. 

This Festschrift, published on the occasion of the Tenth 
Anniversary of the founding of the Archives, is dedicated both 
to the institution and to the man who is principally responsible 
for its founding. Dr. Jacob R. Marcus, more than anyone else, 
has established the study of American Jewish history on a 
scientific basis and has caused the principal resources for that 
study to be assembled in one place. 

On this occasion, I am pleased to salute him as a dear and 
close friend, whose scholarly achievements have brought me 



personal pride. On behalf of the Board of Governors and the 
College-Institute family, I express the fervent prayer that he 
be spared for decades to come and that he be blessed with 
health and strength to carry even further his work in the field 
of American Jewish history and of our common American 


Hebrew Union College -Jewish 
Institute of Religion 


In Appreciation 

Jims Festschrift is, formally, a tribute to the Amer- 
ican Jewish Archives on the tenth anniversary of its creation, 
more than a year late (in keeping with the well-documented 
tradition of scholarly celebrations), in view of the fact that the 
first announcement of its founding was made in the Hebrew 
Union College Bulletin in September, 1947. 

Every new academic departure, every scholarly institution, 
is in truth the fruit of one man's labor of love. No scientific 
society, no scholarly library, no college, ever moved from a 
prospectus on paper to fulfillment in reality without the affec- 
tionate and whole-souled devotion of one man. The man who 
created the American Jewish Archives is Jacob Rader Marcus. 
The Archives is the expression of his personality, his high 
academic standards, his penetrating search for source materials, 
his love of his Judaism and of his America. 

Even Professor Marcus himself is probably unable to explain 
just why and exactly when his vision shifted from the more 
traditional and, in a sense, respected study of the life of the 
Jews in Europe (and especially in Germany) to the vast, un- 
explored story of Jewish life on the North American continent. 
It was probably a combination of several factors: his thorough 
preparation for history courses at the Hebrew Union College 
(he has always outlined his lectures for the entire year in 
advance, and carefully prepared for each session), which made 
him deeply aware of our comparative ignorance of the Jewish 
past in our own land; his insight into the millennial movement 
of Jewish life from center to center, and his comprehension early 
in the 1 930' s that, with the growth of Hitlerism, American 


Jewry must inevitably rise to international pre-eminence in the 
next period of Jewish history; his own boyhood in the mountains 
of West Virginia and a native American's love for his own land; 
and, finally, his personal involvement (more so than almost any 
American Jewish scholar) in the day-to-day solution of Jewish 
problems on the local scene in Cincinnati; in hundreds of other 
cities and towns where his students serve as rabbis and consult 
him by telephone and letter when plagued by their own prob- 
lems, and where he has lectured and taught and learned from 
his audiences and hosts; and on the national scene where, in 
the councils of organizations like the American Jewish Historical 
Society, the B'nai B'rith, the National Jewish Welfare Board, 
the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Jewish 
Publication Society of America, the National Community 
Relations Advisory Council, and the Central Conference of 
American Rabbis (which he has served as president), to name 
only a few, he has participated in efforts to mold the Jewish 
future in America. 

During the early 1 930*8, Dr. Marcus was studying the contours 
of the contemporary Jewish scene, leading his students towards 
an understanding of the host of problems which plagued the 
Jews in the days of Hitlerism and American economic depression. 
Towards the middle of the decade he began, slowly, to gather 
source materials to help his students understand the background 
of their own time, to assign themes in American Jewish history 
for prize essay competitions, and to approve dissertation subjects 
in the field. Finally, in the summer of 1942, he launched the 
first graduate course for the study of American Jewish history 
ever to be taught. It was my privilege to be one of the handful 
of students who attended that course. Professor Marcus had 
already digested all the known material in the field, had chosen 
letters, speeches, pronouncements, and excerpts for the syllabus 
for the course, and outlined a methodology for the detailed 


investigation of certain periods and trends which was to guide 
him and his students for years to come. Into that course he had 
poured the fruit of years of learning and self-development; he 
came to the teaching and writing of American Jewish history 
as a mature scholar, trained to understand documents, to 
comprehend trends, to ask the right questions, and to hew to 
the line of academic accuracy. This will explain the reason for 
his meteoric rise to leadership in a field which sorely needed the 
guiding hand of a scientific historian. 

While Dr. Marcus was preparing for that first course, it was 
natural that he should think of all the questions still unanswered, 
of all the names of persons about whom nothing was known, of 
all the secrets which lay hidden in attics and basements and in 
the old desks of descendants of pioneers. In his travels during the 
I930 5 s he began to search through the collections of libraries 
and historical societies in every state of the Union, and to track 
down persons who might be the owners of family correspondence 
files dating back through the centuries. A methodical admin- 
istrator, he organized an archive of his own on the third floor of 
his home in Cincinnati, filing away thousands of clippings, 
notes of interviews, photostats, pamphlets, references, and 
quotations. This search for raw source material continued 
throughout the war years. His cabinets and drawers began to 
bulge at the seams; his students and friends all over the country 
caught his enthusiasm and sent him the prizes of their own 

Then came 1946-1947, and Professor Marcus' recognition 
that the job of collecting the records of the American Jewish 
experience was too big, too important, and too challenging to 
be the side line of one man's spare time. With the enthusiastic 
blessing and help of Dr. Nelson Glueck and the Board of Gov- 
ernors, the American Jewish Archives was formally organized 
and housed in the old Bernheim Library on the Hebrew Union 



College campus, and with a few assistants, the Professor began 
to collect in earnest: congregational minute books, periodical 
files, thousands of pages of records from local governmental 
and Federal archives, excerpts from will books, and on and on. 
The Archives rapidly came to be the one place in the country 
where sources for every aspect of American Jewish history 
would be likely to be found or at least known. No project in 
American Jewish history could be undertaken without consulting 
its vast holdings; no scholar or student would ask questions 
without securing some help from its Director and his staff. As 
the Archives passed its tenth birthday, it had already achieved 
renown as the greatest single depository of American Jewish 
historical data in existence. 

The time will come (may it be far, far in the future) when 
other minds will guide the Archives, but always it will continue 
to be an extension of the mind, the personality, and the insight 
of its founder. It is the work of his hands. But his hands have 
been busy during this time in other ways. As author and an- 
notator of documents, he has published works in American 
Jewish history, Early American Jewry (in two volumes), and 
Memoirs of American Jews: 1775-1865 (in three), which have 
become standard references in the field, and has edited the 
semiannual journal of the Archives, containing articles and 
source materials of great value. He has trained a generation of 
scholars to investigate areas of the American Jewish experience 
in his own exhaustively methodical fashion. He has helped in 
the research and writing of virtually every volume on any 
aspect of his chosen field which has been published in the years 
since World War II. He has lectured extensively throughout 
the United States and Canada, presenting a historian's view of 
the past, present, and future of American Jewry. He has served 
as chairman of the Publication Committee of the Jewish Pub- 
lication Society of America and is now its vice president, and 


has helped immeasurably to strengthen its program. He has 
toured the Caribbean Sea and South America searching for 
archival materials. He has helped to instill new life into the 
American Jewish Historical Society and has served as its 
president for three years, giving richly of his knowledge and his 
charm to his associates. He has helped two generations of 
American Reform rabbis to achieve a clear and comprehensive 
picture of the community which they are to serve. He has been 
friend and counselor to rabbis throughout the land to the extent 
that they elected him president of the Central Conference of 
American Rabbis, the first since the venerable Isaac Mayer 
Wise to be so honored while a professor at the Hebrew Union 

But all this does not express the man Jacob Rader Marcus. 
Perhaps words alone will never be able to fix him clearly. 
Words like "warmth," "geniality," "comprehension," "honor," 
"dignity," remain words; they cannot convey the experience 
of being with the man, sharing his thoughts, knowing his 
idealism, receiving his help, partaking of the excitement of 
discovery with him, and, above all, learning, from his vast 
store of knowledge, not only of Jewish history, but also of the 
human situation and the role of man in God's world. 

Philadelphia, Pa. BERTRAM W. KORN 



Jacob Racier Marcus 

A Biographical Sketch 



JACOB RADER MARCUS was twenty years old in 
1916, In that year, he published one of his earliest articles in 
the Jewish Community Bulletin of Wheeling, West Virginia. The 
article was entitled, "America: The Spiritual Center of Jewry." 
American Jewish history would have some thirty years to wait 
before its foundations as a scientific historical study were estab- 
lished, largely through the efforts of this son of immigrant 
parents, but already in the youth of twenty there stirred love 
and concern for the life of American Jewry, 

In the year 1889, a twenty-four-year-old immigrant named 
Aaron Marcus arrived in New York from Hamburg, Germany. 
The German port had been but a way station for the young 
man who had been known as Markelson in his native Lithuania 
and in Tiflis where he had served in the army of the Czar. 
Marcus was the name which Aaron Markelson had taken for 
himself during the months he spent in Germany. Perhaps that 
was how he washed away the luckless Eastern past which had 

Rabbi Stanley F. Chyet is the Harrison Jules Louis Frank and Leon Harrison 
Frank Research Fellow in American Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College - 
Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. 


permitted a lung ailment to claim his father's young life, had 
invoked the May Laws of 1882 to dispossess the Markelsons of 
their old homestead at Podwerynka, and had compelled Aaron 
himself to endure five military years in the Caucasus. 

New York, too, proved only a way station. Little more than 
a year after his arrival in America, Aaron Marcus found his 
way to Pittsburgh. Why he went there is unknown, but we 
know that he peddled his way there with a basket of notions. It 
was in Pittsburgh that he became an American citizen, and it 
was there, too, that he married Jennie Reider (pronounced 
"Rader"), about the year 1893. A year later, Jennie Rader 
Marcus gave birth to their first child, whom they named Isaac, 
after Aaron's father. Jennie's father, Isaiah Reider, had been a 
practicing physician in the Lithuanian gubernia of Kovno. 
Although lacking a medical degree, he had performed opera- 
tions with anesthetics. In all likelihood, he had studied at a 
medical school in Russia or Austria, but in accordance with 
the anti-Semitic dictates of the time, had never received a 
diploma. During the early iSgo's, he had come to New York 
to practice medicine, but had soon returned to Europe. Jennie 
and some of her sisters had remained in the United States. 

After some experiences, most of which were not particularly 
happy, in the Pittsburgh steel mills, Aaron Marcus became a 
peddler of tinware. The panic of the early 1 890*3 may have 
been largely responsible for his withdrawal from the steel mills* 
Before long he turned from peddling tinware to peddling cloth- 
ing in the coal-and-coke-oven area around Gonnellsville and 
New Haven, Pennsylvania, and the Marcus family soon moved 
to New Haven. There, on March 5, 1896, a second son was 
born, Jacob Rader. Some three years later, Jennie Marcus gave 
birth to twins, Frank and Ethel. 

Sometime after Jacob's birth, Aaron Marcus traveled briefly 
through East Texas, but the lawlessness of the region soon 


persuaded him to return to Pennsylvania. Around 1900, when 
Jacob Marcus was four, the family settled in Homestead, 
Pennsylvania, a town on which, in 1892, the violence of the 
iron and steel workers 5 strike had conferred a dubious fame. 
Aaron Marcus opened a clothing store in Homestead, and the 
Marcuses remained in the neighborhood until 1907, when 
Aaron went into business on the south side of Pittsburgh, 

Jacob Marcus* memories of Homestead have little to do with 
the labor strife that had made the town notorious four years 
before his birth. He remembers selling newspapers not very 
successfully with his older brother Isaac, and working in 
his fathers store when he was no older than ten. At Theodor 
HerzPs death in 1904, he sold pictures of the great dreamer for 
the benefit of Homestead's local Zionist society, which Aaron 
Marcus probably served as secretary. He also attended the local 
afternoon cheder (traditional Jewish religious school), where he 
learned to read a few Hebrew texts, though never to translate 
them, and heard an occasional talmudic tale from the teacher, 
who was a shohet (ritual slaughterer) as well, and slaughtered 
chickens in the backyard of the synagogue. It was in Homestead, 
too, that Jacob Marcus' love for history first awakened. Home- 
stead had a Carnegie library, and the young boy patronized it 
liberally. He began reading the historical novels of George 
Alfred Henty, There were dozens of the Henty juveniles, and 
Jacob continued to read them when the family moved to 
Pittsburgh. There, too, his Hebrew education was continued 
as, during the week, a melammed (religious tutor) would visit 
the house on Carson Street, and on Sundays the boy would 
cross the Monongahela to attend religious school at the Beth 
Midrash Hagadol on Washington Street. 

Pittsburgh, as it turned out, was but another of Aaron Marcus 5 
way stations. In 1907 or 1908, his business failed, and the 
family moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, where it remained 



some eight years. Here, in Wheeling, Jacob Marcus began high 
school, became bar mitzvah (attained, in traditional fashion, his 
religious majority) at the Orthodox synagogue, and attended 
Sunday school at the Eoff Street Reform Congregation, whose 
rabbi at the time was Harry Levi, later of Temple Israel in 
Boston. It was Marcus' first contact with Reform Jewry and 
the Reform rabbinate. 

About two years after the family's arrival in Wheeling, 
Marcus was confirmed at the Reform temple in June, 1910. 
He continued, however, to regard himself as an Orthodox Jew, 
and the fact that "ethnic" lines were at the time drawn rather 
sharply in towns like Wheeling only strengthened his views. 
When, therefore, in 1910, Rabbi Levi suggested to him that he 
consider a career in the Reform rabbinate, the young confirmand 
balked. Levi, in whose debt Marcus has always felt himself, had 
been impressed by the boy's achievements at the Sunday school. 
Even at that early age, largely as a result of his voracious reading 
of historical novels and the example of his father, who loved to 
read the Hebrew Bible, Jacob Marcus had acquired a note- 
worthy command of biblical history. He was the outstanding 
student at the Sunday school. Levi's suggestion, however, did 
not please the Marcus family, to whom at the time the Jewish 
Theological Seminary of America, Solomon Schechter's Con- 
servative school in New York, appeared more attractive than 
the Hebrew Union College, the Reform seminary in Cincinnati. 
The rabbi was persistent, nonetheless, and in addition to 
teaching his young prot6g6 Hebrew translation and grammar, 
he lent him a number of Jewish books. At about the same time, 
the boy read Israel Abrahams' Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, 
a book which greatly appealed to him. His growing interest in 
history was further reflected in the pleasure which he derived 
from his classes in ancient and medieval history at the Wheeling 
high school, where he also studied some Latin. 


Jacob Marcus was fifteen in 1911. In the fall of that year, 
he went to Cincinnati to begin his rabbinical training at the 
Hebrew Union College, which was then located on Sixth Street, 
in the downtown slums, and was presided over by Kaufmann 
Kohler. He attended classes at Woodward and later at Hughes 
High School in the morning, and went to the seminary in the 
afternoon. After graduating from Hughes in 1913, he matric- 
ulated at the University of Cincinnati and continued his studies 
at the College. An observant Orthodox adolescent in the heart 
of Reform, the "emigre" from Wheeling was, initially at least, 
somewhat frightened and homesick. The intellectual growth 
which he underwent in the "Queen City" was, however, un- 
conscious, but impressive. In high school, he studied English 
literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as Latin, Greek, 
and German. Around 1913, he also studied ecclesiastical history 
for a year, at Cincinnati's Lane Theological Seminary. He 
was the best student in the class much to the astonishment, 
no doubt, of his classmates and instructors, who must have 
wondered at the precocious youngster. Some of them attempted 
to convert the "young Hebrew," as they called him, but Marcus, 
who had come to understand that they meant him no harm, 
was not offended. The experience of living closely with Christians 
for the first time in his life tended to broaden his spiritual 
horizons. Years later, when he participated in Reform-sponsored 
Institutes of Judaism for the Christian clergy, the constant give 
and take of argument with Christian clergymen served to extend 
his horizons even further and, at the same time, to give him a 
precise understanding of the liberal faith towards which he 
had slowly and painfully made his way. 

At the University, Marcus was particularly enthralled by 
Merrick Whitcomb's lectures on medieval history and on the 
French Revolution. Marcus' exposure to American history, 
curiously enough, appeared anything but promising; he was 



only negatively impressed by Isaac Joslin Cox, who lectured 
in that subject. 

The Hebrew Union College, which shortly after Marcus' 
arrival in Cincinnati had moved to its present site on Clifton 
Avenue, offered him an intellectual experience rather different 
from the one which he was afforded at the University. There, 
at the College, under the exacting guidance of Julian Morgen- 
stern and Henry Englander, Jacob Marcus made substantial 
gains in his grasp of Hebrew grammar and biblical criticism. 
Although, in spare moments during those early years in Cincin- 
nati, he had begun to read the English translation of Heinrich 
Graetz's History of the Jews purely for pleasure, he came before 
very long to detect in himself more than a passing taste for 
general Jewish history. Scholarship grants enabled him to begin 
building a large Jewish library, and he read widely, if not 
wisely. Almost from the very beginning, he evinced a warm 
interest in the history of his people. A more formal instruction in 
Jewish history was provided him at the College by Gotthard 
Deutsch. It was Deutsch, more than anyone else at the time, or 
perhaps even since, who made Marcus alive to the study that 
was ultimately to become the substance of his intellectual life* 
Marcus himself has said of Deutsch: 

He became a great influence on me* In part, he influenced me because 
of his personality. For the most part, I was influenced by his method. 
He was essentially a skeptic, a realist. He believed practically nothing 
in history. He believed only in facts, and wanted to be pretty sure 
before he would accept the fact. He was in essence an annalist* He 
was also a great deal of a debunker .... Deutsch emphasized the 
anecdote, social history, and was very much interested in the details 
of the lives of individuals. I was influenced by this approach. * 

The extent to which this influence continued to operate, the 
fruit which it bore, commands perhaps no testimony more 

* This and the follo\ving direct quotations arc taken from a brief autobiographical 
manuscript prepared by Dr. Marcus. 



eloquent than the two volumes of Early American Jewry and the 
three of Memoirs of American Jews: 1775-1865 which Marcus, by 
then become one of the most distinguished of American rabbis 
and Jewish historians, was to publish some three and a half 
decades later. 

Julian Morgenstern, too, exerted a considerable influence on 
the developing young scholar. Morgenstern, to be sure, was "a 
severe teacher," but Marcus "learned to enjoy his classes" in 
biblical criticism. From Morgenstern he "really learned the 
critical method." It was, as the years would bear abundant 
witness, a lesson of paramount importance and value. 

Yet Marcus was not content with Cincinnati alone. During 
one of his vacations from the College, he spent a financially 
precarious summer at the University of Chicago Divinity School 
where, among other things, he waited on tables and studied 
Egyptian history with James H. Breasted. 

In 1914, the Hebrew Union College student body founded its 
own literary magazine. The first number of the Hebrew Union 
College Monthly appeared in June of that year under the editorship 
of an upperclassman, Abba Hillel Silver. Eight issues were 
published that first year, and the last two, dated April and 
May of 1915, included two book reviews by a member of the 
class of 1919, Jacob Marcus. As he himself has said, he "worked 
very laboriously" on these productions. In one of them, a 
review of Israel Cohen's Jewish Life in Modern Times, Marcus 
took Cohen to task for forgetting, in his Zionist zeal, that he 
was "supposed to be an impartial historian." Later, in 1917, 
Marcus himself became editor of the Hebrew Union College 

It was in 1916 that Marcus received his first professional 
f ee $10.00 from Joseph Jacobs, the editor of the American 
Hebrew, for an article on the famous Eastern European Yiddish 
writer, Mendele Mocher Seforim. Conscientious scholar that 



he already was, it was a source of some grief to him that he had 
had to work from secondary sources only, and the ten dollars 
did not make him feel any better. He was all too painfully 
aware of his inadequate grasp of primary materials, not to 
mention his meager knowledge of the classical languages and 
of rabbinic Hebrew. During the years to come, he went to 
great pains to make up the deficiency. 

On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson led the United 
States into the war against Germany, and all of Marcus 5 
scholastic plans were temporarily suspended. Some three weeks 
later, on the thirtieth of April, two months before he was to 
receive his B.A. degree from the University of Cincinnati, 
Marcus volunteered as a private in the United States Army, 
although as a theological student he was exempt from the 
draft. Fortunately, during the first months with the Army, 
Marcus was stationed in Ohio and was able to take his bac- 
calaureate at the University in June. 

The Army, by Marcus' own testimony, "settled" him. He 
"ran into some anti-Semitism, but, on the whole, . . . was well 
treated. 55 Shortly after his graduation from the University of 
Cincinnati, he was sent to France, where he spent some nine 
or ten months with the American Expeditionary Force. Happily, 
though under fire on several occasions, he was spared participa- 
tion in active engagements, and passed most of his French 
sojourn in a relatively quiet sector. Throughout his military 
service, he conducted religious services for his Jewish comrades, 
frequently right behind the lines. Out of his wartime experiences 
caine a number of articles, including "The Jewish Soldier" 
in the Hebrew Union College Monthly in 1918, "Lost: Judaism in 
the AEF; the Urgent Need for Welfare Workers 55 in the American 
Hebrew in 1919, and, in the same year, "Religion and the 
Jewish Soldier 55 in The Community Voice of the Allentown [Pa.] 


Jewish Community Center. By the time he was separated from 
the service in May, 1919, he had risen to a second lieutenant's 
rank and was the acting commander of his company in the 
1 45th United States Infantry. He was then twenty-three 
years old. 

In June, 1920, a year after his return from the Army, Jacob 
Marcus was ordained a rabbi at the College in Cincinnati. 
In fulfillment of the College's requirements for ordination, he 
had written a thesis of some 200 pages, An Investigation into Polish 
Jewish Life of the Sixteenth Century with Special Reference to Isaac 
ben Abraham^ Author of Hizzuk Emunah. Shortly after Marcus 3 
ordination, David Philipson, the rabbi of Cincinnati's Bene 
Israel Congregation and a powerful member of the College's 
Board of Governors, recommended to President Kohler that 
the young scholar be appointed to the College faculty as an 
instructor in Bible and Rabbinics. At first, the new instructor 
was authorized to teach only biblical history and other subjects 
in Bible and Rabbinics, but on Deutsch's death in 1921, Marcus 
found himself in charge of all the College's classes in general 
Jewish history. He also found himself among the executors of 
Deutsch's literary estate, an experience that in itself was to 
have meaning for his future development: 

When I saw how [Deutsch's] books were thrown around, I lost all 
respect for books as sacred entities in themselves. Since that time, I 
have never hesitated, when necessary, to destroy a book by marking 
it as I saw fit. I have learned that books are instruments and not 

Deutsch, his brilliance, critical acumen, and insight not- 
withstanding, had been a thoroughly unsystematic teacher. 
Now, under Marcus' aegis, the students at the College had to 
read Jewish history systematically for the first time in a genera- 
tion. Yet his new duties quickly convinced Marcus that his 


own inadequacies in the field of Jewish history stood in need of 
substantial correction, and he determined to subject himself to 
the discipline of a European training. 

The Marcus family had, in the meantime, moved to Farm- 
ington, West Virginia, where at length it had achieved a 
measure of prosperity. With his father's help, therefore, the 
erstwhile soldier found it possible, in the summer of 1922, to 
return to Europe, this time as a student. He remained there 
four years. 

Marcus* European pilgrimage had been motivated primarily 
by his desire to study with Ismar Elbogen at Berlin's Jewish 
theological seminary, the Lehranstalt. For the most part, how- 
ever, as it turned out, he studied at the University of Berlin. 
Originally it had been his intention to explore the social and 
economic history of the Middle Ages, but he soon discovered 
that he was inadequately equipped to execute his plan and 
that, in many areas, he would have to "start from scratch," 
as it were. He sought for himself, therefore, private instruction 
in Medieval Latin, Hebrew, and Middle High German. Among 
his tutors was Fritz Baer, whom Marcus has since characterized 
as, "technically, the greatest historian we [Jews] have yet 

Perhaps the chief of his obstacles, Marcus found, was his 
lack of ease in reading German. It took him a year before he 
was able to read German with a measure of fluency, and at 
length, in the summer of 1923, finding that he had too much 
occasion to speak English and too little to speak German 
in Berlin, he went to Kiel to perfect his grasp of the language. 
He did learn German in Kiel, but missed there Berlin's Jewish 
associations, so vital, he felt, to his Jewish development. He 
also missed in Kiel the stimulus of men like Fritz Baer and 
Jacob Jacobsbn, the archivist for German Jewry, and the 
companionship of the 'cellist Maurice Eisenberg, a fellow 



American, He missed, too, the warmth of the Chassidic services 
to which he had been attracted in Berlin's East European 
ghetto and the glow of the ultra-Orthodox Adath Israel Syn- 
agogue of which, liberal religionist though he was, he had 
become a contributing member. Other Berlin synagogues, 
notably the Jewish Reform Congregation in the Johannisstrasse 
and the Orthodox Alte Synagoge in the Heidereutergasse, 
failed to compel his interest, Marcus' intimates are well aware 
of the fact that the former West Virginian with his dry humor 
and his ironic "wisecracks" is no "highbrow." He is not overly 
fond of pompous people* As in later years with music, so now 
with synagogal worship, he preferred schmaltz to elegance and 

Life in Germany proved "desperately lonely" for him. It 
was, in many respects, the first year in Cincinnati all over 
again. He was compelled to work very hard, and found little 
time to make friends. The loneliness was somewhat alleviated, 
however, in the summer of 1923 when three College friends 
from Cincinnati Nelson Glueck, Walter E. Rothman, and 
Sheldon H. Blank arrived in Germany to pursue doctoral 
studies. In that year of 1923, Marcus also met Antoinette Brody, 
a young music student from New York. 

The scholastic labors which Marcus had so tirelessly endured 
since his arrival in Berlin three years before led, in October, 
1925, to his Ph.D. degree. Since the University authorities in 
Berlin declined to accept a Jewish subject, he was advised to 
write his doctoral dissertation on the mercantile relations 
between England and the Hanseatic League. That dissertation, 
Die handelspolitischen Beziehungen zwischen England und Deutschland 
in den Jahren 1576-1585, was published in Berlin by Eberling in 
1925. It was dedicated to "Pretty Nettie Brody." 

By the spring of 1924, Marcus had fallen in love with 
Antoinette Brody, and at the end of 1925, the two were married 



in Paris, where he had gone to study French. After a brief 
honeymoon, Antoinette returned to Berlin to continue her 
studies. Marcus had intended to remain in Paris for some time, 
but a few days later followed "Pretty Nettie" back to Berlin. 

In the fall of 1926, Marcus returned to Cincinnati, but not 
until he had first spent three months in Palestine. His hope had 
been to learn modern Hebrew, but it had met with only partial 
realization. Four difficult years in Europe had left him too 
fatigued to endure the rigors of a kibbutz existence, and it was 
in the kibbutzim that Hebrew-speaking people were to be found. 
He did, however, learn to read modern Hebrew. 

Formidable though his years abroad had been, and insuper- 
able as some of the obstacles which he encountered must have 
seemed, the European sojourn was of permanent value to him. 
In Europe, Marcus had found and seized upon the op- 
portunity to become a cultured as well as a learned human 
being. Despite his thralldom to a relentless doctoral program, 
he had found time to associate with artists, musicians, and 
other people of culture. The association had not failed of effect. 
He had, moreover, disciplined himself to accept the unremitting 
demands of a life of scientific scholarship. If, in the years to 
come, that would not lead to a life of great leisure and social 
activity, it would lead to a life of personal creativity and achieve- 
ment. He was fortunate, too, for although Antoinette's interests 
were primarily musical, she remained admirably patient with 
all the demands which her husband's academic work made on 
both their lives and did everything to further Marcus* career. 
His wife's gaiety and joie de viure, moreover, presented a much- 
needed contrast to Marcus' tense and even hypersensitive 

The years which followed his return to the College in 1926 
presented him with many opportunities and many challenges. 
In May of 1929, his wife bore him a daughter. Merle, now an 


accomplished musician and actress living in New York City. 
His relationship to her has always been very close, and the two 
have always enjoyed a warm camaraderie. The year 1929 also 
brought the bitter hardship of the great depression. New prob- 
lems and responsibilities beset him upon the death of Aaron 
Marcus in April, 1932. Marcus* courses at the College were 
subject, moreover, to frequent changes, and he was constantly 
under the necessity of exploring new areas of Jewish scholarship. 
In the course of his years at the College, he found himself 
entrusted with classes in history, Bible, Rabbinics, modern 
Hebrew, ceremonials, and other subjects. Yet, as a teacher, he 
learned a great deal. 

Particularly in Jewish history, Marcus achieved for himself 
an excellent background. Early in his career, he worked through 
all the eleven volumes of Graetz's History of the Jews., both in 
German and in Hebrew, and with all the notes. For Marcus, 
Graetz was, and remained, "the great master." He has said of 

He is a fabulous figure, and I am annoyed when people attack him. 
His arrangement of material is bad, but he had vision and ideas, 
imagination and verve, and a tremendous capacity to absorb material. 
On the whole, his methodology is excellent. He is as much a genius 
for the Jews as [Leopold von] Ranke for general history. It is too bad 
that Graetz never came to history as a [professional] historian, but 
primarily as a literary historian. 

Marcus himself worked through many of the basic source 
materials. Unlike Graetz, he had come to Jewish history as a 
professional historian with a general historical background. In 
his approach to history, Marcus made every effort to avoid an 
unscientific chauvinism. It was rather accuracy and critical 
methodology that occupied him and fashioned his presentation 
of historical material. He had "no special angles as a Jew in 
writing history," and the general background always seemed 



important to him. He attempted, then as now, to interpret 
his material "in the light of its own time and ideals and prej- 
udices, but at the same time . . . to relate the material to 
present-day Jewish life and institutions and present-day Jewish 
interests. . . ." And so, as the years following his return from 
Europe passed, he continued to work and to grow. A spate of 
articles issued from his study. Still, as an ominous "New Order" 
dawned in Central Europe, no book had come from his pen. 

Actually, Marcus had written a "book" in 1928. Published in 
the thirty-eighth volume of the Central Conference of American 
Rabbis Tearbook> it had simply not appeared in book form. That 
first "book" was "Israel Jacobson," a study of the founder of 
German Reform. In Marcus' opinion, "nothing better has ever 
been written" on the subject, and he still considers it one of his 
best works. It was subsequently republished as an offprint. 

With the Nazis' rise to power in Germany, Marcus found 
himself importuned to write on the situation as it affected the 
Jews. Reluctant at first to do so, he consented at length, and in 
1 934 the same year in which he became a full professor of 
Jewish history at the Hebrew Union College the Union of 
American Hebrew Congregations published his first "hard* 
cover" book, The Rise and Destiny of the German Jew. The work 
went through two editions, and a year later extracts from it 
were published under the title, "Les Juifs et le Nouvel fitat 
Allemand," in UUnivers Israelite of Paris. In this book, Marcus 
made certain predictions concerning the future of German 
Jewry. The fact that later events proved most of them wrong 
has always been a source of wry amusement to him, As Marcus 
himself has said, this did not mean that he was a poor historian: 

When it comes down to guessing, dealing with human intentions, 
the ignoramus is just as competent as the scientist. The ignoramus 
has a fifty per cent chance of being right which is just as much or 
just as little as the scientist has* 


Marcus' next work of singular importance did not appear 
until 1 938. In that year, he published a documentary anthology, 
The Jew in the Medieval World: a Source Book: 315-1791. In 
preparing that book, Marcus investigated hundreds of different 
medieval Jewish sources. He was able, consequently, to acquire 
an exceedingly thorough background in the entire field of 
medieval Jewish history. In the meantime, in 1935, he had 
published A Brief Introduction to the Bibliography of Modern Jewish 
History and, in 1937, with Albert T. Bilgray, An Index to Jewish 

With the publication of The Jew in the Medieval World, Marcus 
believed that he had found the field in which he wanted to 
work: the social, cultural, and economic background of Central 
European Jewry from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. 
Many of the materials relevant to this period, both printed 
matter and manuscripts, were in Early Modern Yiddish, which 
he had learned to read with facility. In the course of time, he 
assembled a large archives of original material, mastered much 
of the technical terminology, and learned a great deal about 
the societal structure of the period. A decade of work in this 
research culminated at length in a number of essays and in a 
book, Communal Sick-Care in the German Ghetto, published by the 
Hebrew Union College Press in 1947. The book, based as it is 
on rarely exploited sources, remains sui generis in Jewish histor- 
ical research. In May of the preceding year, the Board of 
Governors appointed him the Adolph S, Ochs Professor of 
Jewish History. 

By the time that Communal Sick-Care appeared, the extent of 
the Nazi atrocities had been revealed, and Marcus knew that 
the Central European Jewry to whose earlier history he had 
so long devoted himself was now no more than a ghostly 
shambles. The Hitlerian catastrophe was a terrible shock to 
this man who had written in 1934 that, 



barring wholesale expulsion or massacre, which seem rather remote 
even under the implacable hatred of the National Socialists, what 
has been called the "Jewish genius for survival" will manifest itself 
in Germany* (The Rise and Destiny of the German Jew, p. 300) 

Marcus knew now, in 1947, that for the Jews, "Europe was 
dead." For him, too, it was dead. The training and background 
in research which he had developed over the years in dealing 
with European Jewish history he directed now to an investigation 
of American Jewish history. 

It was not, however, a sudden volte-Jace. As he himself has 

By 1943, I was veering toward American Jewish history, although I 
did not realize that I was. I had long realized that America was to 
be the great center of Jewish life for the future. I had known it years 
before this. 

As early as March, 1931, in a Founder's Day address delivered 
at the Hebrew Union College, Marcus had turned his attention 
to "The Americanization of Isaac Mayer Wise," and all 
through the 1930*5 he had come to place increased emphasis on 
American Jewry in his courses on general Jewish history. In 
1933, the second volume of The American Scholar had included an 
article which he had written on "Zionism and the American 
Jew." As early, indeed, as 1934, he had been a member of the 
American Jewish Historical Society. In 1942, although by no 
means fully aware of the extent of the Hitlerian tragedy, 
he nevertheless "sensed the growing importance of American 
Jewish history," for in the summer of that year he had conducted 
the first required course in American Jewish history to be 
given in an American college. It was a year later that he had 
drawn up "A Brief Bibliography of American Jewish History" 
for the Jewish Book Annual, 1943-44, and had written an article 
on "Jews" for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The latter dealt with 
Jewish life in the modern world and contained material relating 


to Jews in the United States. Reprinted in subsequent issues of 
the Britannica, it was the first attempt at a scientific account of 
American Jewish history in a standard reference work. 

It was during the 1 940*8 that, spurred by his growing interest 
in American Jewish history, Marcus suggested to his old friend, 
Walter E. Rothman, then librarian of the Hebrew Union 
College, that an American Jewish archives be developed at the 
Library. With Rothman's aid, a collection of American Jewish 
materials was initiated. In 1946, as chairman of its Committee 
on Contemporary History and Literature, Marcus recommended 
to the Central Conference of American Rabbis, convened in 
Chicago, that congregations undertake to collect and preserve 
all their records, and in the following year he recommended to 
the Montreal convention of the Central Conference that the 
National Jewish Welfare Board be requested to sponsor a 
cc jewish History Week." Nine years before, Marcus had pre- 
vailed upon his friend, Frank L. Weil, of the Jewish Welfare 
Board, to allocate to the American Jewish Historical Society a 
substantial sum to finance the Society's quarterly. Although, 
a few years later, the Welfare Board found it necessary to 
withdraw its support from the venture, the Society was able 
to continue publication of its journal. 

In 1947, one of Marcus 5 great dreams was realized. In that 
year, Marcus asked President Nelson Glueck's support for the 
nascent archives, and was instructed to establish a more exten- 
sive, separate national institution. With the help of J. Victor 
Greenebaum, a Cincinnati physician and a member of the 
Hebrew Union College Board of Governors, the board's finan- 
cial support was obtained, and the American Jewish Archives 
was established on the Cincinnati campus with its own building 
and staff and with Marcus as its Director. In time, the Archives 
became the largest institution of its kind, not only in the Amer- 
ican Jewish, but in the general Jewish world as well. Literally 


hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pages of American 
Jewish historical materials, many of them on microfilm, were 
assembled under its roof, and in June, 1948, the first number of 
the semiannual American Jewish Archives was published. 

In the decade since its founding, the Archives has become one 
of the major research centers of American Jewish history, with 
the result, as Marcus has said, that "no history of American 
Jewry can be written without recourse to [its] material." Among 
the Archives' holdings today are huge collections of the minutes 
of Jewish congregations and of various Jewish societies as well 
as many special collections, including the papers, originals or 
copies, of the colonial Rhode Island merchant-prince Aaron 
Lopez, the Canadian merchant Samuel Jacobs, Jacob H. Schiff, 
Louis Marshall, Felix M. Warburg, Julius Rosenwald, and a 
host of prominent rabbis and Jewish lay leaders. The basic 
records of American Jewry since the eighteenth century, as well 
as many seventeenth-century materials, are well represented 
in the Archives, and many of these sources have been catalogued 
so as to facilitate their use by scholars. In addition, detailed 
indices of American Jewish materials in European periodical 
literature have been prepared. 

Not content with these achievements, Marcus has enlisted 
the aid of interested scholars, largely students and graduates 
of the College, in preparing a number of reference works basic 
to research in American Jewish history. It is not too much to 
say that he has created a "school" of American Jewish history. 
Dozens of graduates have written rabbinic theses in this new 
field. Thus he encouraged Earl A. Grollman to compile a 
lexicon of seventeenth-century American Jews, published as a 
"Dictionary of American Jewish Biography in the Seventeenth 
Century" in the American Jewish Archives of June, 1950; and he 
assisted Joseph R. Rosenbloom in the preparation of a similar 
lexicon for eighteenth-century American Jewry. Under his 


guidance, Allan Tarshish has written on nineteenth-century 
German American Jewry, and Malcolm H. Stern has drawn 
up the genealogical tables so necessary and hitherto so woefully 
lacking in this research. He has, furthermore, inspired Bertram 
W. Korn to publish a number of valuable books, including 
American Jewry and the Civil War, Eventful Tears and Experiences: 
Studies in Nineteenth Century American Jewish History, and The 
American Reaction to The Mortara Case: 1858-1859, the latter two 
published by the Archives itself. Among other ventures spon- 
sored by the Archives are an index to Isaac Leeser's periodical, 
The Occident, from 1843 to ^69, currently being prepared by 
Abraham I. Shinedling; a supplement to Abraham S. Wolf 
Rosenbach's bibliographical work on American Judaica up to 
1850; and a projected bibliographical catalogue to list all 
American Judaica from 1851 to 1860. 

In the spring of 1956, Marcus established the American 
Jewish Periodical Center for the microfilming of every Jewish 
serial published in the United States between 1823 an d 1925, 
and of a selective group after that. The purpose of the 
Center is to make available to Jewish scholars throughout the 
world microfilms of Jewish periodical literature on interlibrary 

Yet in the midst of all these activities, and in the face of a 
protracted illness which led to the death of Antoinette Marcus 
in July, 1953, Marcus continued to teach at the College and to 
pursue his own research projects. He continued also to build 
his private library of Americana. Comprising an extensive 
collection of manuscript as well as printed materials, it is 
probably the most complete grouping of the basic tools of 
American Jewish historical research in existence. In 1949, his 
colleagues in the Reform rabbinate had honored him with 
election to the presidency of the Central Conference of American 
Rabbis, In 1956, his colleagues in American Jewish scholarship 



paid their tribute by electing him to the presidency of the 
American Jewish Historical Society. 

In 1951, the Jewish Publication Society of America published 
the first of his two volumes of Early American Jewry. This dealt 
with the Jews of New York, New England, and Canada between 
1649 and 1794. The second volume, dealing with the Jews of 
Pennsylvania and the South between 1655 anc * 1 79> was 
published by the Society in 1953. As had been the case with 
Communal Sick-Care in European Jewish historical research, so, 
too, in American Jewish historical research, Early American 
Jewry was sui generis. About a fourth of the second volume was 
devoted to a survey of American Jewry's first century and a 
half. The Jewish Publication Society said of that survey that 
"for brevity, clarity, and inclusiveness nothing like it has yet 
been done." Indeed, among the handful of books that constitute 
the scientific literature of American Jewish history, nothing can 
rank higher than the two volumes of Early American Jewry, 
Yet, for all that, the volumes were written with such skill that 
the lay reader, not to mention the scientific historian, could 
approach them with as much pleasure as profit. 

Early American Jewry was followed, in 1955, ^Y Memoirs of 
American Jews: 1775-1865, three volumes of American Jewish 
autobiographical material. Published by the Jewish Publication 
Society, these volumes, too, will serve as a basic source for 
mid-nineteenth-century American Jewish history. 

Honors, sorrows, and achievements have not caused Marcus 
to slacken in his labors. He appears virtually tireless in pursuit 
of the goals which he has set for himself and for a scientific 
American Jewish history. He has just completed a large-scale 
documentary collection dealing with eighteenth-century Amer- 
ican Jewry. It is scheduled to appear in the winter of 1958. For 
some years, too, he has been working on a history of Colonial 
American Jewry through 1776. He plans then "to write a 


briefer general history of American Jewry and to sum up [his] 
studies and researches in the field." His approach to the work 
which he has undertaken with such ardor and dedication, and 
with such notable results, is nowhere better expressed than in 
his own words: 

I have no specific philosophy of American Jewish history. As in 
general Jewish history, I believe that the Jew is closely integrated 
with his background. This is particularly true in America where the 
Jews have never been a distinct political group, but always part of 
the American body politic. I am very much interested in the religious, 
social, economic, and cultural life of the Jew here. I believe that he 
is a cultural entity, has always been one, and will always remain one. 
I believe that every datum in American Jewish history must be 
carefully analyzed from the Jewish and the general points of view, in 
relationship to Jewish and general backgrounds. I think it is a mistake, 
however, to relate Jewish history too closely to some of the major 
movements in general American history. . . . The American Jew is 
not completely subject to his general American background. His 
history may be, to a certain extent, independent of that background, 
although that background must always be very closely studied. 

We have had rather little to say of Marcus in relationship 
to his students and for the best of reasons. This man has 
exerted so profound and incalculable an influence, both personal 
and professional, on those who have studied under him that, in 
writing of him, it is difficult to avoid a degree of feeling which 
would acutely embarrass him. Suffice it, then, to say that no 
man in the world of Jewish scholarship today could be more 
universally or more deservedly loved and reverenced. Were it 
only for the deep interest which Marcus has always taken in his 
students and for the unaffected sympathy which he has always 
evinced for their problems, personal as well as academic, this 
would be true. But there has been much more: his qualities of 
personal warmth and graciousness, blended as they are with a 



stern and unrelenting quest for truth and for accuracy, have 
significantly broadened the horizons of knowledge and percep- 
tion for more than a few students. 

Alive to the challenge of the past, Marcus has never lost 
sight of the future. Whatever the devotion and concentration 
which he has summoned to his study of the Jewish past, it has, 
all of it, been motivated by devotion and concern for the Jewish 
future. That future will be immeasurably the richer for his- 
labors in its behalf. 

A Decisive Pattern in 

American Jewish History 


IHE history of the Jews is a history of involvement. 
It is not simply the history of a people living in a specific ge- 
ographical area whose development can be treated as something 
largely distinct and separate. Jewish history is not the history 
of a self-evolving entity. It is always, at one and the same time, 
both a history of that which is distinct, that which has had its 
special delineation in time, and of that which is interwoven 
with the fate of empires and civilizations. The history of the 
Jews is intermeshed with the history of the ancient Near East, 
the Hellenistic world, the Roman Empire, the Sassanian dynasty, 
and the Moslem, Christian, and Western civilizations. It cannot 
be torn from its larger context, although it is not identical with 
that context. 

Each society in which the Jews grappled with the problems 
of existence was radically different from the society which had 
immediately preceded it in time, or from a contemporaneous 
society in another place, Medieval, feudal Christendom was 
structurally very different from the pagan Roman Empire. The 
Moslem structure, although existing alongside medieval, feudal 
Christendom, was by no means identical with it. These structures 
in turn were made up of substructures, diverse one from the 

Dr. Ellis Rivkin is Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College -Jewish 
Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. 



other and often in conflict with each other. At all times we are 
confronted with unity embracing diversity and with identity 
enclosing difference. The Jews in their involvement refract the 
unity and diversity, the identity and difference which char- 
acterize the historical continuum. 

Since Jewish history has been as diverse as that of civilization 
itself, generalizations are inadequate to comprehend it in all its 
manifestations. Jewish institutional forms, for example, have 
varied from society to society. They have been monarchical, 
aristocratic, oligarchical, republican, and democratic. Jews 
themselves have been naive and sophisticated, rationalistic and 
mystical, legalistic and moralistic, heretical and traditional, 
liberal and reactionary, scholarly and ignorant, saintly and 
sinful. They have been slaveowners and slaves, merchants and 
farmers, moneylenders and artisans, capitalists and proletarians, 
rich and poor. They have, in a word, been human beings 
wrestling with, and reacting to, the problems of life in the 
context of their changing economic, social, political, and reli- 
gious relationships. The uniqueness of Jewish history, therefore, 
does not derive from any uniqueness of the Jew as a human 
being, but from the character and the implication of a history 
of involvement. 

This involvement, however diverse, reveals a persistent 
pattern. No matter how different the society, no matter what 
the dominant ideology, the Jews in each case experienced a 
phase of acceptance and well-being linked to the expansion of 
that society, and a phase of rejection and persecution linked to 
the disintegration and collapse of that society. Every society 
reveals this pattern. The fate of the Jews has always been 
inextricably bound up with the fate of the larger society. Each 
unique experience has thus revealed, at a different level of 
complexity, a repetitive pattern. 

Is there a uniqueness that characterizes the history of the 


Jews in the United States? If there is such a uniqueness, does it 
display the repetitive pattern? Is the fate of the Jews in the 
United States inextricably bound up with the fate of the country? 
And if its fate is thus bound up with that of the Jews, will this 
society go the way of all previous societies, or will its ultimate 
fate be different? 

The history of the United States may be said to be unique in 
that it manifests a historical evolution which is dominated by 
the dynamics of expanding capitalism. Although capitalism 
arose in Europe and penetrated every part of the world, it 
found its most unrestricted expression in the United States. In 
no other area did capitalism find so few obstacles to its restless 
dynamism, and nowhere else did it achieve so vast and so 
continuous a success. 

The uniqueness of Jewish experience in the United States is 
thus to be sought in the relationship of the Jews to capitalism 
in its purest manifestation. Never before in their history had 
Jews been involved in such a structure. Although it is true that 
the Jews in seventeenth-century England and Holland and, 
to a lesser extent, in France and Germany were radically 
affected by the new economic system, capitalism never became 
so decisive in Europe as it did later in the United States. Whereas 
in Europe the Jews only gradually came to experience capitalism 
as it transformed a previous economic and social structure of 
which they were part, in the United States the Jews, from the 
outset, came into contact with capitalism as the dominant and 
decisive system of production. 

This essay is intended primarily as a study of the broad, 
historical implications of this experience. We shall analyze the 
effects of capitalistic development on the old order in Europe, 
so that we may discover the roots of emigration, and we shall 
analyze also the character of capitalistic development in the 
United States, so as to discover the dynamics of immigration. 



We shall observe the contrast between the impact of capitalism 
on Europe, with its precapitalist structures, and on the United 
States, where the impediments were less stubborn and resistant. 
We shall then be in a position to assess the meaning of this 
unique historic experience in its relationship to previous 
patterns. * 

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed the vast 
growth and expansion of commercial capitalism. The centers 
of this commercial activity were concentrated in such seaports 
as London, Amsterdam, and Hamburg. From these ports trade 
reached out across the Atlantic to the newly founded colonies 
in North America, to the trading settlements in Central and 
South America, to the Indies and China, across the Mediter- 
ranean to the Levant, and through the interior of Germany to 
the capitals of the numerous princely states. Among the merchant 
capitalists who carried on these far-flung enterprises were many 
Jews, a good proportion of whom had once been Marranos in 
Spain and Portugal, but who had subsequently settled in Lon- 

* This essay docs not purport to be a detailed analysis of American Jewish history, 
nor does it pretend to deal with it in all its aspects. In considering any structural 
phase, one must discern its relationship not only to the prior structure, but also to 
the structure yet to emerge. Every structure will be found to have some remnants 
of the previous structure as well as some intimations of the structure which is yet 
to be. In considering capitalism in its various phases, therefore, I have stressed its 
dominant structural components. I am aware, of course, that elements of a prior 
phase remain important and active. Undoubtedly there are even today some 
fanners who till the soil as did their great-grandfathers; there are, assuredly, 
many shopkeepers whose way of doing business differs very little from the way in 
which it was done at the turn of the century; and there are still open-air markets 
where produce is sold from stalls. Yet one can scarcely claim that the structure of 
our contemporary society is that of the nineteenth century. In this essay emphasis 
has been placed upon the dynamic elements of structural change, rather than on 
the particulars which constitute the whole at any given moment. 



don, Amsterdam, and Hamburg. These Spanish-Portuguese Jews 
were permitted and even encouraged to engage in commercial 
capitalist ventures, some of which brought them into contact 
with the trading cities of the Western Hemisphere. 

Another group of entrepreneurs who had always been profes- 
sing Jews made its appearance in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries. These were the Court Jews, who served the princes 
of Germany in a variety of ways. They provisioned the armies, 
minted money, organized trade, and provided luxury goods for 
the lavish courts. Their commercial activities kept them in 
constant touch with the great trading centers of London, 
Amsterdam, and Hamburg in the West, and with the important 
trading centers of Poland in the East. 

These Court Jews made use of agents who frequently settled 
in the great maritime centers and undertook employment in 
the trading house of some wealthy Jewish merchant. Some of 
these enterprising young men were sent off as agents to America 
or went on their own account. Frequently they took advantage 
of the capitalistic opportunities in the colonies to buy some 
goods with their savings and to become merchant capitalists 
themselves. Some of them remained permanently in the colonies, 
either continuing to represent the firm, or completely freeing 
themselves from their ties and becoming independent cap- 
italists, engaged in trade and land speculation. 

The emigration of Jews from Europe was thus an aspect of 
commercial capitalism. North America beckoned to enterprising, 
risk-taking individuals who would engage in trade and com- 
merce. It was those Jews who were swept, irrespective of their 
place of origin, into the capitalist orbit that became immigrants. 
The Jews who had established themselves as successful mer- 
chants in Europe did not, as a rule, emigrate, and those the 
overwhelming majority who had not even been touched by 
commercial capitalism likewise remained where they were. The 



majority of the first Jewish settlers in the colonies was made 
up of capitalistic merchants and tradesmen, enterprising in- 
dividuals who were seeking to better themselves. 

The character of colonial society encouraged precisely this 
type of Jewish immigration. The merchant capitalist was a 
highly respected member of eighteenth-century society, and a 
Jewish capitalist merchant was viewed in terms of his class and 
function rather than his religion. For this reason, merchants 
like Aaron Lopez, the Gomezes, and the Frankses, not to 
mention others of similar enterprise if less affluence, were 
regarded with respect and admiration. 

That Jews did not come to settle in large numbers, although 
the seventeenth-century was a very harsh one for most of the 
Jews in Germany and Poland, is to be explained by the fact 
that, aside from trade, only capitalistic enterprise, farming, and 
handwork offered opportunities in America. The major sources 
of peasant emigration in the eighteenth century were England, 
Ireland, France and, to some extent, Germany. But in England 
and France the Jews had scarcely any contact with the peasants, 
since only Jews who were merchant capitalists had been allowed 
to settle in these countries. The Jews, therefore, could not 
accompany the peasants of these areas when the latter were 
set in motion by advancing capitalism. The sprinkling of Jews 
in the colonies and in the early republic is thus explained by 
the fact that commercial capitalism determined the character 
and the extent of emigration and immigration. 

The framework in which Jewish life in America had its 
inception and unfolding was from the outset radically different 
from any which the Jews had experienced previously. Virtually 
from the moment when the Jews set foot in this country, their 
destiny became linked with that of capitalism. This was the 
only area in the world where capitalism was the very source of 
its life and where capitalism and its corresponding institutions 


could develop with little hindrance from an earlier system of 
production and from the structures that had been involved in it. 
The North American colonies were primarily capitalistic out- 
posts pressing against the barriers of mountain and forest, and 
although formalized religious establishments, whether indigenous 
or European in origin, were operative in most of the colonies, 
they never became so firmly rooted in the American environment 
as similar or corresponding establishments had been in Europe. 
Indeed, the churches that flourished in this country were already 
at least once removed from the ecclesiastical institutions of the 
medieval world. Anglicanism as established on these shores was 
perhaps closest to the medieval norm, but Puritanism already 
represented a considerable deviation from Anglican doctrine 
and government. In New England, Puritanism took the form 
of the Congregational churches and ministered as such to the 
capitalist merchant class and the free yeomanry. The Middle 
Colonies were already infested with a variety of deviant beliefs, 
and in some cities, for example, Philadelphia, Deism had made 
considerable progress. Thus even before the Revolution no 
church establishment existed in the solid sense that such estab- 
lishments existed in England, France, or Germany. 

Nor did any other medieval institution gain a strong foothold 
in this country. A hereditary aristocracy with legally confirmed 
privileges never took root here. Guilds never developed as 
privileged and monopolistic entities. Although Negro slavery 
existed, all attempts at securing a permanent, unfree, white 
agricultural class were unsuccessful. The European husbandman 
in this country was virtually from the start a free farmer. 

The economic structure, even before the Revolution, thus 
displayed the character of relatively free capitalism, wherein 
commodities were produced and profit was sought. It was an 
economic structure which encouraged fluidity and mobility, 
and which rewarded the enterprising and the thrifty. It flour- 


ished in a political and ideological framework that was receptive 
to its needs and responsive to its drives. 

The response of such a society to the Jews was thoroughly in 
keeping with its character to the extent that if the institutions 
of a medieval orientation had been strong, there would have been 
opposition to the Jews. Since, however, the strength of such insti- 
tutions was relatively slight and became ever slighter with the 
years, the Jew came to be evaluated strictly in terms of his func- 
tional role. This functional role, as we have seen, was that of an 
enterprising merchant on a large or small scale, and the evalua- 
tion of the Jew's role was generally to be as positive as the role 
itself at the time. 

The thoroughly middle-class character of American society 
is evident from the two basic documents of American independ- 
ence: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 
The significance of these documents lies in their appeal to the 
authority of natural law and inalienable rights, rather than to 
some scriptural authority. These were the first official documents 
to rest the authority of a national state squarely on the authority 
of the people, and the first to grant complete freedom of worship 
and to reject categorically a national church establishment. In 
addition, there was to be neither monarch nor aristocrat. Thus 
the American Constitution achieved what no state in Europe 
was to achieve, however powerful the growth of capitalism. 
This achievement guaranteed the American Jew, on a national 
level, the utmost that unfettered capitalism can grant; political, 
juridical, and economic freedom. 

In Europe, the Jews could only approximate such sweeping 
freedom; for, in Europe, capitalism could develop only out of a 
structure based on a very different system of production, and 
out of an array of institutions that were powerful, formidable, 
and privileged. Even violent revolutions could not root out the 
entrenched institutions of the Old Regime. Monarchy, aristoc- 



racy, and the Church lingered on, preserving at least some 
vestiges of their former power and grandeur. Precapitalistic 
economic forms likewise persisted, as did the ideologies char- 
acteristic of those classes which drew sustenance from the forms 
of a precapitalistic economy. 

In England, for example, the monarchy, the Established 
Church, and a hereditary aristocracy have been maintained. 
In France, the power of the Church and the monarchical 
principle reasserted themselves many times during the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries. In Germany, the Kaisers ruled till 
1918, and the Junkers maintained their importance through the 
entire period of the Weimar Republic. Italy held on to the 
monarchy and failed to free itself from the power of the papacy, 
while in Austria the Church never entirely lost its formidable 
position. Whenever the development of capitalism called for 
the dissolution of anomalous classes, its spokesmen were either 
incapable of marshalling the social strength needed for the 
venture, or they recoiled at the prospect that they might unleash 
the very forces which would endanger them. 

The Jews in Europe found, therefore, that their fate was 
bound up with a capitalism incapable of freeing itself completely 
from the medieval orientation of precapitalism. Little wonder, 
then, that the Jews in Europe were placed in an ambiguous 
relationship to the entire process. They gradually achieved 
emancipation, but this emancipation was never certain. They 
were accorded political and juridical rights, but they were 
unable to make unrestricted use of them. In most European 
countries the army, the aristocracy, and the bureaucracy suc- 
ceeded fairly well in blocking the Jews. 

A constant obstacle to a genuine and thoroughgoing Jewish 
emancipation was the persistence in Europe of medieval in- 
stitutions which had never freely or happily accepted capitalism. 
These institutions had not only fought the new system of produc- 

3 1 


tion and its political demands, but even when they did accord 
reluctant acceptance to the new dispensation, they continued 
to resist Jewish emancipation. The reactionary elements in the 
French National Assembly insisted that Jews were a nation and 
not a religion. The Jewish problem was a very real and persistent 
one during the French Revolution, and although the Jews were 
granted equality, the opposition never ceased clamoring that 
the Jews were a nation and were not, therefore, entitled to 
citizenship. During the Napoleonic interlude, Napoleon himself 
threw his weight behind the allegation that the Jews were a 
separate and a harmful nation which had to be purged of its 
backward and anti-social mores. The discriminatory laws issued 
by Napoleon, first, in 1806, in the form of a moratorium on 
debts owed to Jews, and then in the form of restrictions on their 
economic activities, testify to the tenuous character of Jewish 
emancipation in a capitalistic society which was still hemmed 
in by the persistence of precapitalistic production modes and 
of precapitalistic institutions. Thus, even after a revolution as 
thoroughgoing as the French, the Jews were not completely 
freed from their entanglements in the old order. 

The situation was basically the same in Germany. A Jewish 
question existed as an inseparable component of the larger 
question of the relationship between an emergent capitalism 
and precapitalist forms and institutions. From 1815 through 
the revolution of 1848, the debate over what the Jews were 
raged throughout Germany, In this spectrum, the evaluation 
of the Jews was either good or bad, depending on whether 
the writer was oriented towards the old regime or advocated 
a capitalist and nationalist state- Since the German revolu- 
tion of 1848 was even less thorough than the French, the 
Jewish question in Germany continued to be as viable as the 
strength of the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the Church 
could render it. 



While Europe entered upon its capitalist phase encumbered 
by a Jewish problem that had been spawned by the medieval 
world and its collapse, the United States, never having known 
any system of production other than capitalistic or geared to 
capitalism, was not faced with a Jewish problem. America 
had no enclaves of Jews who, as in Alsace-Lorraine, engaged 
in petty moneylending and peddling to debt-ridden peasants 
and artisans. The situation in America was unlike that in 
France, where a chasm separated one group of Jews from 
another, and where the capitalist Jews of Bordeaux felt their 
position threatened by the Jewish moneylenders, peddlers, and 
beggars of Alsace-Lorraine. In the young American Republic 
some Jews were poorer than others, but no Jew was committed 
to the economy of a previous epoch. Each Jew was a free man, 
seeking in his own way a place for himself in the young, dynamic, 
and vigorous American society. 

The framers of the American Constitution did not have to 
engage in debate with powerful opponents to prove that Jews 
were not a nation, but a religion. The issue did not even arise, 
since strictly capitalistic society does not recognize religibus 
differences as relevant, as long as religion does not endanger 
the constitutional basis of the state, the Constitution. Pure 
capitalism is intolerant of institutional and inherited privileges, 
and seeks to make everyone equal before the law. Only when 
pure capitalism faces some anomalous vestige which still exerts 
power is it forced to compromise. It rarely introduces such 
anomalies on its own. Thus, slavery in the new republic had 
to be tolerated temporarily because of the very real power of 
the slaveowners, and because slavery was an existent reality in 
1789. However, the capitalist intent is clear in that the slave 
trade was to come to an end. 

The United States from its very birth thus had no backlog 
of accumulated hates peddled by the institutions and interests 



of a decaying order: no desperate artisans whose guild privileges 
had been destroyed, no disgruntled peasantry being driven off 
the land, no surplus of desperate human beings vainly seeking 
new moorings, no proletariat being ground down in the mines 
and factories. It is little wonder, then, that though instances of 
anti-Jewish feeling were not altogether lacking, the overriding 
tone of society was favorable towards the Jews. 


The second phase of Jewish history in the United States was 
likewise one which proved to be very positive in its outcome 
for the Jews. This phase, too, was directly related to the devel- 
opment of capitalism in Europe and to rapid capitalist expansion 

In Europe, capitalism made vast strides between 1815 and 
1848, but its effects differed from area to area. In England, the 
industrial revolution was consolidated, and the industrial cap- 
italists were given political recognition and power. In France, a 
similar, if not so intensive, capitalistic growth took place, but 
the reorientation of power involved revolutionary upheavals. 
Nonetheless, France emerged in the second half of the nineteenth 
century as a great capitalistic power in which effective political 
control was in the hands of capitalistic parties. The consolidation 
of capitalism in both England and France improved the position 
of the Jew, even though it could not completely eliminate the 
continuation of hostility on the part of persisting institutions 
of the old order and of those classes negatively affected by the 
character of capitalistic development. 

In Central Europe the consequences of economic change 
were radically different. The growth of capitalistic commerce 
and industry took place in societies structured for quite different 



purposes and goals. The heavy hand of decadent monarchical, 
aristocratic, and ecclesiastical power stood in the way of initiative 
and enterprise. The political disunity of Germany hampered 
the drive for national unity. Yet capitalism developed and in its 
penetration of Germany steadily broke up the economic founda- 
tions of the old order. Peasants found it more difficult to eke 
out a living from the soil; factories reached out for hands; 
artisans helplessly fought the competition of machine. The 
texture of the old economy was dissolved, and those whose 
livelihood disappeared with the old economy sought new ar- 
rangements for themselves. 

Large numbers were swept up by the growing demands of 
the new capitalism in Germany itself: some became workers or 
entered occupations created by the vast process of urbanization; 
some became capitalists; others emigrated. Especially after the 
1830*3 did the surplus humanity of the German states seek a 
home in the United States. 

Among the disrupted were the Jews, who had had a significant 
role in the economy of stagnation and decay. Indeed, they 
had never been completely expelled from Germany in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries precisely because of the function 
assigned to them in the processes of breakdown and decay. 

Jews had been permitted to remain in various towns and 
villages of Germany as petty moneylenders, pawnbrokers, and 
peddlers. By lending money on pawn at high interest rates over 
long periods of time, the moneylenders and pawnbrokers helped 
the peasants and the artisans to stave off economic disaster. 
The peddlers and petty tradesmen made cheap and used 
commodities available to the lower classes of town and country. 
These services were rendered by the Jews in an atmosphere 
laden with hate, distrust, bitterness, and resignation. The 
peasants and the artisans were resigned to the necessity of 
the Jews, while the Jews were resigned to contempt, hatred, 



and humiliation. Paradoxically, so long as stagnation and decay 
remained impervious to dynamic change, the Jew was secure 
in his role, certain of his future, and geared to expectancies that 
were as dependable as they were humiliating. 

The moment, however, that advancing capitalism disrupted 
the economic foundations of stagnation and decay, the Jews 
became as insecure as the artisans and the peasants. They, too, 
became divorced from the even and familiar tenor of their 
lives habitually degrading and humiliating though their lives 
had been and found themselves thrust into a rapidly changing 
world. Many of them saw opportunities in the growing urban 
centers of Germany; some became capitalists; the rest came to 
this country with the peasants and the artisans who likewise 
sought these shores. 

The country to which they came, Jew and non-Jew alike, 
was undergoing a twofold expansion, On the one hand, the 
factory system was making rapid progress, particularly in New 
England; commerce was growing; railroads were being built; 
the basis for the prodigious industrial growth of the post-Civil 
War period was being laid. On the other hand, the West was 
being opened up to settled farming. The vast, untilled, but 
fertile lands beckoned to those who had tilled the soil in their 
native lands. The immigrants from Germany, torn from the 
soil, eagerly returned to the soil. 

But there was a vast difference. The precapitalist peasant of 
Germany was now an independent capitalist farmer, producing 
agricultural surpluses for an expanding country with a growing 
population. He was tilling the soil in an economy of vigor which 
rewarded toil and enterprise, and which gave him a voice in 
the legislative bodies of the land. He was no longer the helpless 
victim of stagnation, decay, and privilege. He was a free, proud* 
and independent farmer. The capitalism that had ruined the 
precapitalist society of his native land and had forced him to 



seek another land proved to be in America an economic system 
giving him land, opportunity, and dignity. 

The Jew who immigrated was likewise transformed- Those 
skills in moneylending, trade, and peddling which he had 
developed in his native town and village, and which had there 
been associated with hatred, bitterness, and humiliation, those 
skills were now the very ones which capitalism cherished, 
encouraged, and rewarded. They were transformed into enter- 
prise, imagination, and innovation. Applied to the needs of 
the free farmers in the Middle West, they hastened the distribu- 
tion of commodities, encouraged the extension of credit, aided 
the establishment of wholesale and retail outlets in the towns 
and cities, and led to the building of reputations for reliability 
and integrity. 

The situation of the Jew in this country remained positive 
because his role and function continued to be positive. He 
contributed in America to an expanding economy. His rela- 
tionship to that economy was one of close involvement in its 
most dynamic aspects. Anti-Semitism was thus unable to gain 
any secure foothold. Nevertheless, here and there disturbing 
symptoms manifested themselves at moments of crisis and 

A significant example was General Ulysses S. Grant's Order 
Number u during the Civil War. This order excluded the 
Jews as a class from the Department of the Tennessee, which 
included parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky, because 
of the prevalence of smuggling and illicit trade. That such 
smuggling and illicit trading went on can scarcely be doubted, 
but that the Jews were solely, or even largely, responsible for 
the situation was, of course, untrue. Smuggling and illicit trade 
have accompanied every war since the sixteenth century. The 
War of the Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic wars, the 
American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War all 



furnished opportunities for extralegal economic activities. Such 
activities, to be sure, were hardly calculated to gain the favor 
of belligerents devoted to the enemy's destruction. What Grant 
did, however, was to identify a common practice with a partic- 
ular group, and his prestige gave the discriminatory order a 
national audience. In effect, rather than exposing it as a regret- 
table concomitant of warfare, Grant attributed an evil within 
the system to a distinctive group, the Jews. He appeared blind 
to the fact that certain individuals, irrespective of religious or 
ethnic affiliations, never fail to grasp the opportunities for large 
profit furnished by warfare, however illicit these may be. 

Order Number 1 1 was quickly rescinded. Appropriate apol- 
ogies were made, and Jews continued to fare well. Grant's 
Order remains significant, nevertheless, because it represents 
the first utilization on a national scale of what was to become a 
basic anti-Semitic device: the attribution to the Jews of that 
which is negative in capitalism, so that negative features of 
capitalism are viewed as Jewish aberrations rather than as 
integral, if disturbing, aspects of an intricate and complex 
system of production. 


The third phase in the development of American Jewish history 
again reveals the interplay of European forces stimulating 
emigration with forces in the United States encouraging im- 
migration. The latter half of the nineteenth century witnessed 
the industrial expansion of Germany and the consolidation of 
capitalism as the basic system of production. England and 
France entered the phase of imperialism which had the effect 
of strengthening capitalism in these areas. The position of the 
Jews in these three countries was relatively good, despite the 
outbursts of anti-Semitic feeling that accompanied the brief 



periods of crisis which interrupted the steady expansion of 

The consolidation of capitalism in Germany virtually brought 
to a halt the emigration of Germans and Jews. The prosperity 
and the expectation that Germany would continue to become 
more wealthy and powerful encouraged Germans and Jews to 
integrate themselves into the new economy and the new society. 

In the East, however, capitalism was only beginning to 
penetrate the area; it had by no means become the dominant 
system of production. The effects of the penetration of capitalism 
in an area still largely precapitalist in its economy, an area 
still controlled by dynasties and ecclesiastical hierarchies, are 
disruptive. The peasantry is dislodged; the old villages are 
broken up; the artisans and craftsmen are unable to compete 
against factory-made commodities. The disruption of the old 
order creates a surplus population. Some of the surplus is 
absorbed by the factories and by the urban expansion; others 
seek opportunities in those countries where capitalism has 
become dominant. 

After 1870, at the very moment when the westward agricul- 
tural expansion had passed its apex and free land was becoming 
scarce, the United States entered the phase of vast industrializa- 
tion. Immigration to this country, therefore, had to accom- 
modate itself to the opportunities set by the economy, and the 
immigrants found that their choices were narrow and more 
limited. The Polish, Roumanian, and Italian peasant could 
not as a rule become a free farmer. He had to find employment 
either in the factories, or in the mines, or in an array of urban 
occupations in the expanding metropolises. 

The Jewish immigrants after 1870 also discovered that in- 
dustrial expansion firmly set the limits of choice for most of 
them. Jews, too, were faced with the choice of factory labor 
or of some occupation thrown open by metropolitan urban 



growth. But, whereas in the case of the non-Jews the scales 
were tipped towards factory labor, in the case of the Jews they 
were tipped towards other occupations made available by 
urban development. The urban or semiurban background of 
the Jews made the difference. 

The Jews living in the Austro-Hungarian and Russian 
empires were not peasants, although frequently they were 
closely bound up with the peasant economy. Even in the small 
villages they engaged in some sort of trade and business activity. 
In the larger cities of the Pale of Settlement, Jews eked out a 
livelihood as petty traders, peddlers, and artisans. A large 
number were Luftmenshen, people without a fixed occupation. 
Many of them made a living from activities related to Jewish 
religious life. Some were paupers; only a few were proletarians, 
and these were limited to emerging industrial centers. However 
different the occupation, most Jews were oriented towards 
urban activities. 

When Jews from Eastern Europe came to the United States, 
they had visions of urban status and accordingly sought out 
those possibilities on arrival. The vast expansion of population 
in such cities as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and 
Baltimore necessitated an elaborate growth in occupations 
related to distribution and consumption. Millions had to be 
fed and clothed. There was thus a great need for large numbers 
of peddlers, storekeepers, jobbers, and the like. A great many 
Jews immediately sought to fill this need because they were 
equipped by previous experience to engage in just these types 
of activities. The non-Jewish peasant was not so equipped. 

The opportunity, however, did not exist for all the Jewish 
immigrants to find such employment. Most of them had to 
become proletarians working for contractors at home, or working 
for manufacturers in factories. Inasmuch as they had known 
something like an independent status in their native cities, 


towns, and villages, they resisted permanent proletarianization, 
and viewed their proletarian status as temporary. They were, 
therefore, on the lookout for any opening that would permit 
them to make their way towards a middle-class status. The 
Polish peasant had never known any existence other than work, 
toil, and resignation; he had neither urban skills nor middle- 
class orientation, and thus he was less sensitive to his lot and 
less alert to the possibilities of improvement. 

No amount of resistance could have prevented proletarianiza- 
tion unless the economy itself gave succor to this resistance by 
encouraging a shred of hope. The character of the industrial 
expansion and its consequences did precisely that, for it opened 
up a vast array of occupations so rapidly and so urgently that 
all who were quick to respond found it possible to achieve some 
form of middle-class status. 

Modern industrialization created a market for white-collar 
workers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. It constantly 
sought more effective and more efficient distributive outlets 
and thus encouraged the vast and rapid growth of wholesale 
and retail establishments. The steady population growth con- 
tinuously extended the market and encouraged the multiplica- 
tion of small enterprises for which only comparatively little 
capital was needed. The widespread growth of literacy spurred 
the expansion of the publishing business and opened up a large 
market for newspapers and magazines, these in turn creating a 
need for a large class of writers, journalists, editors, and the like. 
The spread of free public education necessitated a large number 
of teachers, and the expansion of college enrollments opened up 
opportunities for scholarship. 

With their urban outlook and their rejection of permanent 
proletarianization, the Jews were quick to take advantage of 
the new opportunities. Every effort was made to accumulate 
some capital, however small, with which to open a small retail 


store, or to buy sufficient stock to become a jobber, or to set 
oneself up as a subcontractor or contractor. Once in some 
position of independence or semi-independence in a steadily 
growing economy, Jews might slowly accumulate capital, better 
themselves, and in a decade or so achieve respectable middle- 
class status. By encouraging their children to take full advantage 
of free education and to continue through high school and 
even college, Jewish parents virtually assured a professional 
status for their children. 

The over-all situation of the Jews was positive in this period 
of tumultuous industrial growth; yet the size and the character 
of the new immigration could not but bring spasms of un- 
certainty and disquietude. By 1900 the Jews whose roots were 
in the German phase of immigration had achieved a durable 
position in American life. Most of them had by this time firmly 
established themselves as very respectable middle-class en- 
trepreneurs: retailers, wholesalers, private bankers, and man- 
ufacturers. As a consequence, they enjoyed the prestige that 
attended such entrepreneurship. It is not surprising, therefore, 
that they felt themselves more threatened by the vast hordes of 
Jews from Eastern Europe than did the non-Jews* 

The East European Jews represented a raw mass of pre- 
capitalist individuals who had earned their livelihood by petty 
trade, moneylending, tavern-keeping, peddling, and similar 
occupations linked to the plight of the peasant and the artisan. 
Viewed from the vantage point of modern capitalistic attitudes, 
such occupations appeared sordid, exploitative, and degrading* 
The mores, manners, and culture that thrived on these pre- 
capitalist foundations were likewise in sharp contradiction to 
the manners, mores, and culture of capitalism. If these pre- 
capitalist Jews came in very large numbers and settled in large, 
compact groups, and especially if they continued in their new 
environment the very same precapitalistic type of activities, 


then surely the image of the respectable, enlightened, respected 
American Jewish entrepreneur would be endangered by that 
of the unkempt, jargon-chattering, shrewd, cheating, medieval 

This antagonism between capitalist and precapitalist Jews 
has made its appearance at every phase in history when the 
two contradictory forms came into opposition with one another. 
The wealthy Jewish merchants and manufacturers of eighteenth- 
century Berlin, Vienna, and Leipzig had looked with dismay 
upon their fellow Jews steeped in degrading (i. e., precapitalist) 
occupations and stubbornly persisting in their Orthodox and 
non-Western ways. The Jewish capitalists of Bordeaux had 
sought to disassociate themselves completely from the pre- 
capitalist Jews of Alsace-Lorraine. In an effort to eradicate 
the blight that seemed to endanger their status, French Jewish 
merchants, manufacturers, and bankers waged a steady struggle 
against their precapitalist coreligionists. In nineteenth-century 
Galicia, the Haskalah movement represented similar elements 
seeking to modernize the Jews; i. e., to destroy their precapitalist 
ways. The first phase of the movement for enlightenment in 
Eastern Europe attempted to achieve the same objectives. 

Every effort was made, therefore, by the representatives of 
an adjusted American Jewry to control the tide of Jewish 
immigration so as to transform the mode of economic activity 
and the way of life that accompanied it. Attempts were made 
to divert the immigrants to the interior, to turn them to respect- 
able occupations such as agriculture. The torrent of human 
beings that kept flooding in could, however, be accommodated 
only by the occupations which this particular phase of economic 
development made available. 

Anti-immigrant feeling among non-Jews was to be found in 
the upper classes of New England who had made their fortunes 
primarily in the flush of the heyday of commercial capitalism 



and during the first phase of the development of manufacturing 
in the pre-Civil War period. After 1870, this class found itself 
being pushed aside by the industrial expansion which was 
concentrated almost exclusively in the hands of capitalist new- 
comers. Since immigration was vital for the rapid success of 
these new enterprises, the staid capitalists of a previous era 
viewed it as a threat to their former supremacy. They saw in 
immigration the disintegration of their American society. 

The farmers also had certain misgivings about the con- 
sequences of the rapid rate of industrialization. By 1890 the 
possibility for the territorial expansion of agriculture was at 
an end. For the first time, the farmers were sharply confronted 
by the very real threat of insolvency and by the inability to 
compete successfully against the continuously growing power 
of finance and industry. For the first time, the seemingly over- 
whelming power of money threatened to deprive them of their 
farms and livelihoods. Opposition to the new finance and in- 
dustrialism reached a very high pitch in the 1890*8. Immigration 
was viewed by large numbers of farmers as symbolic of their 
own downfall. 

And, finally, the native-born working class resented the influx 
of immigrants who jostled them out of jobs and who kept the 
wage rates hovering at the subsistence level. The East European 
Jewish immigrants found themselves, therefore, in a somewhat 
different position from that which their coreligionists of the 
1840*8 and i86o's had encountered. On the one hand, the 
future of these immigrants was to be virtually as favorable; on 
the other, their present was much more uncertain and ambig* 
uous. Their future was assured because they were linked with 
that phase of capitalist development which was to become 
dominant in the twentieth century, the capitalist development 
involving the growth of large-scale industry and the new mam- 
moth urbanization. But at the moment of their arrival, very 



large numbers continued to pursue their precapitalist ways in 
the ghettos of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago. 
They were thus living witnesses to the charge that they earned 
their livelihood in the cracks and crannies of the economic 
system. As pawnbrokers, petty shopkeepers, and peddlers, they 
seemed to be perpetuating in the cities of this country the 
degraded activities of their native lands. The Jews could thus 
be pictured as clever cheats, swindlers, and hawkers. 

Those Jews who entered the shops and factories as workers 
could likewise be cast in a negative light. The first wave of 
Jewish immigration in the i88o's supplied the shops and factories 
with Jews who had never before been workers and who proved 
rather docile and naive in their new-found role. Beginning, 
however, with the 1890*3, large numbers of Jewish proletarians 
from Lodz came over and entered the shops and factories. 
These Jews were experienced workers who had fought many a 
battle with their Jewish employers in Lodz. Many had been 
drawn into the Social Democratic movement even before em- 
igration, and were filled with radical ideas. In addition, many 
Jewish intellectuals had already filtered into the labor movement 
and were taking an active part in the organizational and 
publicistic aspects of the working-class movement. This prom- 
inence of Jews in the trade-union movement and in the spread 
of radical socialist ideology encouraged the identification of 
Jews with radicalism, anarchism, and socialism. However 
popular the pioneer Jewish labor activists were to become 
in the 1930*8, 1 940*8, and 1950*8, they were viewed, at the turn 
of the century, with great animosity and fear not only by the 
Jewish capitalists, but by the Jews who were engaged in peddling, 
jobbing, contracting, pawnbroking, and shopkeeping. 

Three negative features could be ascribed to the Jews of 
East-European origin: (i) the so-called nonproductive, ex- 
ploitative, and sordid precapitalist occupations; (2) the back- 



ward, unenlightened mores and culture that such occupations 
bred; (3) the radical, anarchistic, and socialistic ideas of the 
Jewish working class and of their intellectual spokesmen. A 
fourth negative feature, however, was supplied by the wealthy, 
respected, Jewish capitalists themselves: the identification of 
Jews with large-scale international finance, particularly as 
symbolized by the House of Rothschild. It was thus possible 
to create a picture of the Jew with four threatening qualities, 
a picture which could be conjured up as an adequate explana- 
tion for virtually every ill that plagued society. Every class in 
society could emphasize that aspect of the picture which ac- 
corded with its own predicament. The farmer saw Jewish 
monetary power and Jewish Socialism; the lower middle classes 
and the worker saw the Jewish pawnbroker, the peddler, and 
the shopkeeper; the old mercantile capitalists saw the usurping 
international Jewish banker; and the wealthy saw the Jewish 
anarchist. Finally, the Jewish link with Christianity could be 
seen in its negative aspect, and the Jew as Christ killer could be 
effectively amalgamated with the other four whenever dis- 
contented groups, such as farmers, were at the same time also 
believing fundamentalist Christians. 

These five features were first used during the farm crisis of 
the i88o's and the iSgo's. This was the first instance on a large 
scale of a stubborn problem: the inability of the farmer to make 
a profit in the face of the disproportion between farm prices 
and industrial commodities. This basic problem carried with it 
the concomitant ones of heavy indebtedness and the threat of 
foreclosure. Linked with the problem of prices and mortgage 
indebtedness was that of the availability of money. Attempting 
to cope with their difficulties, the farmers sought solutions that 
were compatible with the maintenance of their independent 
positions. Among the most persistent solutions were those which 
sought monetary inflation and the crippling of the money power* 



It was here that anti-Semitism could effectively be exploited 
to serve diversionary ends. If the total money power could be 
labelled Jewish, then individual bankers were merely the helpless 
tools of the Jewish moneyed interests. The major problem, then, 
for the farmer would be to cripple the Jewish power. Thus his 
difficulties were assumed to stem from that which was alien to 
and superimposed upon the economic system rather than from 
the dynamism of the system itself. Alien Jewish gold was the 

This diversionary approach could be very effective because it 
appealed to seemingly irrefutable facts. The House of Rothschild 
was not only an influential banking house, but it was inter- 
nationally notorious. It was not difficult to believe that, with 
their moneybags, the Rothschilds controlled the governments 
of Europe. Besides, wherever one turned, Jews were engaged in 
occupations involving money. The Jewish Shylock could be 
seen in any large city, and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, for 
money, had led to the crucifixion. 

Large numbers of farmers who during earlier decades had 
viewed the Jews as useful, reliable, and honest merchants now 
saw them negatively as the heartless representatives of the 
money power. This shift came about only because the plight of 
the farmer had for the first time become real, and he sought 
some explanation for his problem. 

Although anti-Semitism had raised its head ominously in the 
i88o's and iSgo's, it proved to be temporary and was liquidated 
fairly rapidly once a new upward swing occurred in farm prices. 
Even more important was the fact that the Jews were linked 
with the most dynamic and the most dominant aspect of 
capitalism: expanding industrialism. The majority of the Jews 
were linked to this industrialism through the new urbanization 
which it created and through the new middle class that it 
brought into being. 



The steady growth of urbanization and the steady increase in 
the demand for distributive outlets transformed the precapitalist 
Jewish immigrant into the small capitalist. Hawking, peddling, 
jobbing, and shopkeeping frequently yielded sufficient savings 
for the small capital investment needed to open a store, establish 
a shop, or embark upon a profession. Along with the stabilizing 
influences of entrepreneurship came the processes of American- 
ization, dissolving the old customs, mores, culture, and religion 
that had been brought from abroad. As larger and larger 
numbers of Jews extricated themselves from the proletariat, 
the radical and socialistic ideas receded. As the content of 
experience became similar for larger and larger numbers, the 
variety of expression dwindled. By 1914 the raw Jewish im- 
migrants were well on their way towards firm middle-class 
status. It has been well-said that the East-European Jewish 
immigrant was neither the son nor the father of a proletarian. 


World War I and its aftermath encouraged these tendencies 
as the American economy entered a new phase, a phase of 
matured, consolidated, contained industrial and financial expan- 
sion. Following quickly on the heels of the few years of post-war 
instability, the economy of the United States surged forth to 
new heights of productivity and prosperity. These new heights, 
however, were not achieved through the augmentation of the 
working class by immigration, but through the rationalization 
of production, the further division of labor, the intensification of 
skills, and the tighter integration of productive units. The new 
surge not only needed no labor from abroad, but found itself 
incapable of utilizing fully even the labor already available. 
Just as an earlier phase of the economy had necessitated a free 


immigration policy, the new phase of the economy made it 
equally necessary to curb the influx of foreigners. 

The closing of the doors to large-scale immigration came at a 
time when the economies of Eastern Europe and the Balkans 
were undergoing severe disruption. But, whereas prior to 1914 
the breakup of the old economies and the displacement of 
large numbers of peasants were mitigated by the opportunities 
offered in the United States, now the surplus population had to 
remain in the very areas which could not possibly provide for 
them. A new problem, as yet unsolved, began to plague the 
societies of Eastern Europe. 

These developments adversely affected the millions of Jews 
living in Poland and Russia. A goodly percentage of Polish 
Jewry was poverty-stricken and lived off charity. An even 
larger number barely eked out an existence through petty 
trading. A significant number became workers. A handful 
succeeded as capitalist entrepreneurs. All Polish Jews, irrespec- 
tive of class, were the victims of virulent anti-Semitism and of 
discriminatory legislation. Jews, who in the iSgo's would have 
come to the United States along with non-Jewish Poles, now 
were locked in a crippled society from which there was no exit. 
Their fate at the hands of the Russians and Nazis was sealed by 
their superfluity. 

In Russia the new type of exploitative economy handled the 
surplus population problem with brutal directness. As the old 
agricultural structure was smashed, millions were forced into 
the factories, and those who could not be used either in the 
new-type agricultural collectives or in the new industrial plants 
were either conscripted into the army, or utilized as slave labor, 
or directly liquidated. The Jews proved especially vulnerable, 
because they entered the epoch of the revolution with a bour- 
geois taint, with the label of exploitative nonproductivity, and 
with a presumed predilection for intellectualizing. Each phase 



of the centralization of the bureaucracy brought with it some 
recourse to these allegations. The fate of the Jews in the Soviet 
Union was thus resolved negatively, although total annihilation 
has not yet taken place. 

Although the post- World War I economy barred entry to new 
immigrants, it continued to unfold opportunities for the Jews 
already living here. Swelling productivity and the prosperity 
that accompanied it spawned myriads of small and medium- 
sized businesses, while the phenomenal growth of white-collar 
occupations absorbed those with high school and college educa- 
tions. The entertainment media, movies and radio blossomed; 
written communication newspapers, magazines, books ex- 
panded; the continuous growth of higher education increased 
the number of city- and state-supported colleges and created 
the need for competent teachers and scholars; advertising 
emerged as a vast enterprise. Stock market and real-estate 
speculation offered the possibility of quickly earned fortunes 
unthreatened by income taxes. Little wonder, then, that the 
post-war decade witnessed the crystallization of a new Jewish 
middle class, firmly bound up with expanding capitalism and 
sharply distinct from the precapitalist Jewish classes of the turn 
of the century. The emergence of this middle class was at the 
expense of the proletarian elements, whose numbers among the 
Jews steadily dwindled. 

The Jews were thus catapulted by favorable conditions, as 
well as by favorable previous conditioning, into the middle 
class. It was, however, literally into the middle class* Only a 
very few individual Jews fully carved out entrepreneurships in 
those areas which had become crucial for the further devel- 
opment of capitalism: the area of large-scale industry* In oil, 
steel, aluminum, automobiles, mining, and machine tools, Jews 
appeared only sporadically as individuals. Some Jews were 
still influential in private banking, but virtually without excep- 



tion these were the descendants of German Jews whose financial 
influence had continued into the new epoch. Virtually no 
Jewish bankers of any significance appeared during the post- 
World War I period. Although some Jewish banking houses 
remained, there was little penetration by Jews into the con- 
trolling positions of the industrial corporate structure. 

The years of prosperity enabled Jews to enter the middle 
class, but these very years introduced some negative features. 
Prior to World War I the need for professional skills seemed 
insatiable* Jews, taking advantage of the demand, entered the 
medical, legal, and teaching professions. The matured economy 
of the igso's slowed down the tempo of expansion in these 
areas and established instead a more stable demand. With the 
restriction of the total number of doctors and lawyers to be 
trained, quota systems began to appear in all the major univer- 
sities, limiting to a more or less fixed percentage the number of 
Jews who might be accepted, particularly in the medical schools. 
Similar quotas were introduced from time to time even in 
undergraduate schools, unofficially limiting the percentage of 
Jews permitted to attend. The significance of these measures is 
that they were introduced by presumably the least intolerant 
segment of society, the community of learning. 

More sinister was the manifestation of anti-Semitism as an aspect 
of the brief reaction following World War I. This anti-Semitism 
was the second outbreak of violent opinion in the history of 
the United States. The first was during the farm crisis of the 
iSgo's, and it had carried anti-Semitic propaganda expressing 
primarily the farmer's discontent with the way in which the 
economy was operating. The second outbreak was more elab- 
orate, because it was coping with a breakdown that was more 
severe and more pervasive. The anti-Semitism not only involved 
the total economy; it also made a crucial issue of the threat to 
that economy posed by the outbreaks of violent working-class 


revolutions in Germany and by the Bolshevik Revolution in 
Russia. Jews were linked not only with the international banking 
which had presumably plunged the United States into a dev- 
astating war to enrich Jewish pockets, but also with an inter- 
national Bolshevism that threatened to destroy American 
institutions by proletarian revolution. On the one hand, the 
Rothschilds strangled from above, while Karl Marx and Leon 
Trotsky destroyed from below. It was alleged that a clever 
international plot, hatched by brainy Jews, rich and radical, 
alike, was plunging the entire world into anarchy and agony. 
Not only did Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent spew forth these 
lies, but senators and representatives in Congress, in the hearings 
on the immigration bills, linked the Jews to Bolshevism. 

This anti-Semitic outburst was, however, of comparatively 
short duration. The economic system in this country was much 
more durable than many of its own spokesmen seemed to think; 
very shortly the age of prosperity blossomed and anti-Semitism 
slipped back once again into the cracks and crevices of the 
social order. 

The Great Depression which in 1929 engulfed America's 
economy had devastating consequences. It was the first depres- 
sion in the history of the United States that was not quickly 
overcome by a new and more impressive phase of prosperity. 
The economic system underwent a collapse from which it did 
not fully recover until a decade had gone by. Despite interven- 
tion by the Federal government on a very large scale in the 
form of the New Deal, unemployment remained high and 
productivity low. Stagnation seemed to have set in. 

The Jews, along with all other elements of the population, 
were hard hit during these years. Because of the New Deal 



approach to the problem, however, Jews, being largely members 
of the middle class, were spared some of the cruelest blows. 
Since their proletarian numbers had dwindled, Jews were not 
faced so directly with unemployment. Franklin D. Roosevelt's 
inflationary policies alleviated the disaster which might have 
swept away the entire middle sector of society. To the extent 
that this middle layer was not permitted to collapse, the Jews 
in that layer were able to hold on precariously to some support. 

One major structural change permanently affecting the 
stratification of society did occur during these years: the emer- 
gence of the Federal government as a significant element in 
the economic and social structure. The New Deal brought into 
being a large bureaucracy to carry out its measures. The 
bureaucracy was dependent on a highly trained administrative 
personnel and on a large white-collar class for clerical duties. 
The bureaucracy created by the depression became a source of 
livelihood for large numbers possessing the requisite skills. 
Among them were a considerable number of Jews. 

The basic economic and social trends, as they affected the Jews, 
further undermined proletarianization and further cemented 
the fate of the Jew to that of the middle class. But though the 
Jew was of the middle class, he was not just another element 
within that class. His middle-class status did not dissolve his 
relations with millennia of history that made for vulnerability 
in distressed societies, irrespective of class position. During the 
depression the Jews came to feel this for the first time as some- 
thing other than a metaphysical fantasy. They witnessed a 
flare-up of anti-Semitism that involved millions of sympathizers. 
They found themselves accused of being the architects of 

The anti-Semitic movement of the 1930*8 is largely linked 
with the name of Father Charles E. Coughlin. An analysis of 
his anti-Semitic message discloses the basic ingredients of which 



Director of the American Jewish Archives 

Since Its Inception 


were an international people who worked unitedly to achieve 
their end: the domination of mankind. Financial control, on 
the one hand, and revolutionary anarchy, on the other, were 
two goals which alone could fulfill their ambitions. Was it 
any wonder, then, that disaster had overcome the simple, 
trusting American who was helpless before a plot so sinister and 
a power so pervading and yet unseen? 

This type of propaganda was very effective because superfi- 
cially it seemed to be true. There were outstanding Jewish 
banking houses throughout the world; some Jews had been 
active Bolsheviks and radicals; Jews were spread throughout the 
world; Hitler's Germany had taken drastic measures against 
the Jews; some Jews were brilliant, and some were prominent 
as publicists; others were in the entertainment industry, and 
it was generally assumed that they controlled the motion 
picture industry and some influential newspapers. As the 
readers of Father Coughlin's Social Justice looked around, 
they saw that the Jews owned the most important department 
stores and that the corner druggist was a Jew, as was the 
physician, the lawyer, the haberdasher. Wherever they looked 
they saw the Jew and money. If they turned to the govern- 
ment they saw that the New Deal was really Jewish. Some of 
Roosevelt's key advisers were Jews. And did they not know that 
Bernard Baruch was the adviser of Presidents? Here was the 
link to international Jewish banking. No wonder, they reasoned, 
that a powerful nation like Germany, in sheer self-defense, had 
to break the Jewish power once and for all. 

The Coughlin type of propaganda was very effective. It was 
hard to refute, precisely because Jews were to be found in every 
stratum of the economy and in virtually every country of the 
world. So long as their qualitative role was emphasized, the 
smallness of their number was unimpressive. It could be argued 
that one key Jew controlled literally tens of thousands of non- 


Jewish subordinates! The depression was not viewed as the 
outcome of the breaking down of the total complex economy, 
but as the consequence of external interference with an economy 
which otherwise would have been immune to breakdown. 

The virulent anti-Semitism of the depression years was espe- 
cially ominous because it indicated that the Jews were more 
vulnerable than any other group in American society. In 
previous crises, Jews had shared with other groups like the 
Roman Catholics, Italians, and Negroes, the blame for the 
stresses and strains that wracked the country. During the Great 
Depression the Jews, for the first time, found themselves bearing 
the brunt of responsibility. In the tortuous selective process, the 
Jews had been found to possess a scapegoat potential that could 
not be equaled by any other minority: i. historically, the Jews 
had always played this role; 2. they were linked with the 
crucifixion of Jesus; 3. they were scattered throughout much 
of the world, and hence seemed eternal aliens; 4. they were 
found in every class, and, therefore, could be linked simultane- 
ously with capitalism, communism, and intellectualism; 5, they 
had no powerful nation or institution to protect them; 6. they 
could serve as the common enemy against whom diverse 
minorities and oppressed groups could unite; 7. they had been 
effectively used by a powerful, modern Western power, Ger- 
many, to achieve a fascist form of government. An amalgam 
concocted out of such potent ingredients was sure to produce a 
powerful effect wherever disaster threatened. 

Anti-Semitism, however, was kept within bounds during this 
period not because its doctrines were considered false or un- 
palatable, but because effective measures were taken to prevent 
a total collapse of the economy and of society. New Deal 
legislation sealed the major cracks which were on the verge of 
releasing an uncontrollable avalanche. This was achieved by 
shoring up the corroded foundations of the middle class and of 



the farmer, and by providing some measure of relief for the 
working class and the unemployed. As long as steps could be 
taken which held out some realistic basis for hope, anti-Semitism 
could spread only as far as these barriers permitted. Despair 
was contained by the preservation of some firmness of structure. 


World War II ushered in a new epoch: an epoch of permanent 
tension generated by the existence of two major constellations of 
power unable or unwilling to annihilate each other. Each 
constellation has absorbed within its system a welter of states 
asserting national sovereignty, yet thoroughly dependent on 
one or the other of the two major concentrations of economic 
wealth and power. The years since 1946 have witnessed the 
steady decline of England and France, the emergence of depend- 
ent national sovereignties in the former colonial empires of 
Britain, France, and the Netherlands, the consolidation of 
Russian power in Eastern Europe, and the emergence of a 
powerful Communist China. Virtually every area of the world 
is beset by tensions revolving about the competing sovereign 
claims within the area (India vs. Pakistan, and the Arab States 
vs. Israel), or stemming from the larger pattern of conflict 
between the United States and Russia. Under the circumstances, 
there is little prospect of reaching any permanent settlement 
which will completely eliminate the threat of armed conflict. 

The economic and social shifts in the United States are 
directly related to the character of the epoch. Since the power 
constellation represented by the Soviet Union must be offset by 
at least its equivalent, the government in our country emerges 
as the largest single factor affecting the organization, structure, 
and trend of total society. The government is directly involved 



in the economic and military support of those nations whose 
strength is vital for the maintenance of its power. The production 
of armaments of ever-increasing technical complexity and 
quality is necessary for the maintenance of its own power and 
the power of its allies. Significant sectors of production are 
exclusively engaged in manufacturing weapons of a highly 
intricate character, and thousands are employed in research 
and in the making of these items. 

The government not only has come to play a crucial role in 
the productive process, but its power, influence, and resources 
have penetrated every corner of national life. The universities 
as training schools for the specialized sciences have more and 
more been drawn into government projects. A large percentage 
of graduate scientists, engineers, economists, administrators, and 
the like, immediately find their way to employment in some 
government project. The vast bureaucracy absorbs an ever- 
increasing percentage of the highly specialized and the highly 

The emergence of the government as a permanent factor in 
the total productive pattern comes at a time when industrial 
development is undergoing a vast revolution in technique and 
rationalization, generated by the radical growth of electronics, 
making automation not only possible but necessary* Such devel- 
opments have increased the demand for physicists, engineers, 
economists, and other highly trained specialists. 

This period has likewise witnessed the rapid growth of large- 
scale corporate enterprise and the steady reduction in the 
significance of small economic units not only in manufacturing, 
but also in the wholesale and retail trade and in farming* The 
acceleration of mergers and the competitive elimination of even 
comparatively large productive units has narrowed down the 
class of free entrepreneurs and has enlarged the salaried executive 
and employee class. The interdependent character of the 



economy has become more and more manifest, as an ever 
larger percentage of the total population is being absorbed by 
gigantic enterprises and by the government. 

The position of the Jews is directly related to these new 
developments. Since most Jews were already in the middle 
and the lower middle classes at the close of World War II, 
they responded to the changes in the economy as befitted their 
class status and orientation. The basic trend was towards 
incorporation into the rapidly growing salaried sectors of the 
economy and of the government, as the demand for engineers, 
scientists, accountants, economists, and administrators increased 
in the post-war decade. The economic growth was so great and 
for the most part so steady that former restrictions on Jewish 
employment were steadily relaxed by private industry, while 
the continued growth of government bureaucracy opened op- 
portunities for nondiscriminatory employment. The growth in 
retail trade, characterized as it was by continued enlargement 
of the entrepreneurial unit, increased the need for administrative 
and technical personnel. The expansion of the advertising media 
and the emergence of television alongside the earlier means of 
mass communication likewise opened opportunities for employ- 
ment. The increased demand for medical care led to the ac- 
celeration of medical training programs and the relaxation of 
quotas as far as Jewish students were concerned. 

Jews continued as private entrepreneurs, some in sectors 
linked to vast industrial enterprises, others in the manufacture 
of clothing, and some in the wholesale and retail trade. The 
steady rise of the stock market and the favorable dividend 
picture made large incomes possible for those who had significant 
sums for investment. But this type of income had no relationship 
to an active entrepreneurial role. The investment banking 
houses run by Jews, such as the Lehman Brothers, continued to 
be active, but no new firms made their appearance. 



The general prosperity of these years offered little fertile soil to 
anti-Semitic agitators. To the extent that some dissatisfaction 
was inevitable as long as all economic and social problems were 
not solved, some anti-Semitism was in evidence. No real threat, 
however, could emerge in the context of full employment and 
social stability. 


As of the moment, the experience of the Jews in the United 
States continues. Their relationship to capitalism in this country 
thus far has been preponderantly positive. The strength and 
power of the economic system in the United States have been 
so great that it has successfully weathered both the Great 
Depression and a global war. This strength and power have 
enabled the Jews to find security, opportunity, and hope. 

Although the over-all experience has been highly positive, 
the negative aspects cannot be overlooked. At every moment of 
economic or social crisis, especially since the 1890'$, anti- 
Semitism has manifested itself. This anti-Semitism more and 
more linked the Jews with the sources of disintegration and 
decay and attempted to identify the Jews with the twin threat 
of international capitalism and international communism. 
Should any major crisis emerge in the future, it is to be expected 
that anti-Semitism will once more be aroused from its mo- 
mentary dormancy. 

Thus far the experience of the Jews with capitalism in the 
United States has been similar to previous patterns. The position 
of the Jews in every society of the past has been as secure as 
the society itself. For every stress the Jews have been held 
essentially responsible; for every collapse they have been 
blamed. Thus far every major stress in American society has 
yielded anti-Semitism. 



As we move into the future, what can we expect? The so- 
ciological structure of the Jewish population in 1 958 seems to 
indicate that the fate of the Jew in this country is dependent 
upon the fate of capitalism. If this economic system is capable 
of continuous regeneration, and if it successfully survives the 
threats of war without a drastic reduction in its standard of 
living; or if, America having become involved in war, its 
economic system emerges victorious without society's reduction 
to a shambles during the interim; then we may expect that 
the position of the Jews will tend to remain favorable. But 
if some collapse should take place in the present structure 
of the economy, either as the consequence of a depression or as 
the result of a drastic reduction in the standard of living, 
necessitated by meeting the threats of war or involvement in 
war; and if in response to such emergencies the prevailing 
institutions in this country are transformed; then the outlook 
for the Jews will be poor. Movements will emerge which will 
seek to allay despair and to siphon off discontent by diverting 
the minds of the helpless and hopeless from the sources of their 
difficulties towards fellow sufferers and fellow victims. Then, 
once again, the accumulated accusations of the ages will be 
amalgamated with the ills of the hour, and the seeming truth 
will be so obvious that refutation will be vain. Jews will be 
condemned as the representatives of international, alien cap- 
italism in league with radical, revolutionary, anti-capitalist Com- 
munism. It will be asserted that this invincible, if unnatural, 
alliance has destroyed all that is good and worthy. 

The fate of the Jew is thus once again linked with the fate 
of society. The future alone will indicate what that fate will be. 


The Sale of a Negro Slave 
in Brooklyn in 1683 


XHE DOCUMENT published here is a bill of sale relat- 
ing to the purchase of a neegerman, a Negro slave, by one Pieter 
Strijker (Stryker), of Vlackebos, now the Flatbush section of 
present-day Brooklyn, N. Y., from "the honorable Abraham 
Franckfoort, a Jew, residing in New York" (den eersame Abraham 
Franckfoort een Joodt woonachtig in N. JorcK)* The transaction had 
taken place in the Village of Midwout, now Midwood, then a 
part of Flatbush, on August 15, 1683. Its terms called for the 
payment of half of the 1,025 guldens in 1683 anc ^ ^ or t ^ ie com ~ 
pletion of the payment in 1684 or 1685. The receipt for the 
second half of the payment bears the signature, "Aberham [sic] 
Franckfort [sic]," and the date, "Junij (June) 27, i68[?]s[?]. The 
document is on deposit in the office of the Brooklyn County 
Clerk. * 

Dr. Abraham G. Duker is the President of The College of Jewish Studies, 
Chicago, 111,, and an editor of Jewish Social Studies. 

1 Flatbush was once one of the original towns of Kings County or the Borough of 
Brooklyn. It was legally established as Vlackebos or Midwout. 

The document appears in the Flatbush Town Records, book 1004, page 122, 
old page 150, in the collection of the former Commissioner of Records Office, now 
the Historical Division of the Kings County Clerk, State of New York, located in 
the Hall of Records in Brooklyn. I hereby acknowledge the help of Mr. James A. 
Kelly, Brooklyn Borough historian and Deputy County Clerk, for his kindness in 
locating the document for me; of Mr. James F. Waters, his assistant, for helpful 


Though Bernard Postal and Lionel Koppman, A Jewish 
Tourist* s Guide to the United States (Philadelphia, 1954), p. 443, 
report that Franckfoort and Strijker "had entered into a business 
arrangement/' the name of Aberham (or Abraham) Franckfoort 
does not appear in any of the published standard works on 
American Jewish history 2 or in any of the histories of slavery or of 
the local histories of New York or Brooklyn. 3 Jews were reported 
to have lived in Long Island as early as 1682. According to 
Isaac Martens, Asser Levy's family removed "to Long Island 

information; as well as of Rabbi Arthur J. S. Rosenbaum in having called to my 
attention the existence of documents of Jewish interest in that collection. I wish 
to thank also Dr. Jacob Meijer for his help in comparing the official translation by 
experts of the former Commissioner of Records Office with the photostat of the 

9 Of., for instance, Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 
Jacob Rader Marcus, Early American Jewry 9 The Jews of New Tork, New England and 
Canada. 1649-1794 (Philadelphia, 1951), I; David de Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in 
Stone: Early Jewish Settlers, 1682-1831 (New York, 1952); David and Tamar de 
Sola Pool, An Old Faith in the New World: Portrait of Shearith Israel 1654-1954 (New 
York, 1955); Earl A. Grollman, "Dictionary of American Jewish Biography in the 
Seventeenth Century," American Jewish Archives, III (June, 1950), p. 6. 

4 Cf., for instance, Elizabeth Donnan, cd., Documents Illustrative of the History of the 
Slave Trade in America, 1441-1700 (Washington, 1930), I; Minutes of the Common 
Council of the City of New York 1675-1776 (New York, 1905), VIII; Benjamin F. 
Thompson, A History of Long Island, Containing an Account of the Discovery and Settle- 
ment; with Other Important and Interesting Matters, to the Present Time (New York, 
1839); B. F. Thompson, A History of Long Island from Its Discovery to the Present Time 
(2nd ed.; New York, 1843); Collections of the New Tork Historical Society (Second 
Series, Vol. I [New York, 1841]); Henry R. Stiles, A History of the City of Brooklyn 
(Brooklyn, 1869), 3 vols.; J. Paulding, Affairs and Men of New Amsterdam: The Time 
of Governor Peter Stuyvesant (New York, 1843); Nathaniel S. Prime, A History of 
Long Island from Its First Settlement by Europeans to the Tear 1845, with Special Reference 
to Its Ecclesiastical Conditions (New York, 1845); David T, Valentine, A History of 
the City of New Tork (New York, 1853); Gabriel Furman, Antiquities of Long Island 
(New York, 1875); B. Fernow, ed,, Documents Relating to the History of the Early 
Colonial Settlements Principally on Long Island (Old Series, Vol. XIV; New Series, 
Vol. Ill [Albany, 1883]); B. Fernow, The Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 
1674 A. D. (New York, 1857), 7 vols.; Martha Bockee Flint, Early Long Island, A 
Colonial Study (New York, 1896). 


on his decease in i68s." 4 A record of land ownership by Jews 
in Long Island goes back to 1 745. s However, the historian of 
Brooklyn Jewry traces the beginnings of their settlement in that 
borough only as far back as the nineteenth century. 6 

It is clear from our document that a New York Jew had 
concluded a business transaction involving a human chattel 
across the East River from Manhattan as early as 1683. At that 
time, although only twenty-nine years old, the Jewish commu- 
nity in New York was large enough to have its own "separate 
meeting" or steady place of worship. 7 It is also clear from the 
document that Jews had at that time the right to buy and sell 
slaves. To judge from Abram Vossen Goodman's failure to 
mention this problem in his standard study, 8 the right of Jews 
to own slaves was not challenged in the Dutch colony of New 
Netherlands (or New York, as it was later called under English 
rule) . It is not known whether Franckfoort was a slave dealer or 
whether he had sold the Negro from his own household. Max J. 
Kohler states that "until about 1750 at any rate, every New 

* Isaac Markens, The Hebrews in America (New York, 1888), p. 9. Gf. Postal and 
Koppman, loc. cit. 

* To cite: "It is probable that Jews settled [on Long Island] from the time of their 
arrival in New York; but the first definite record is that of the town of Oyster Bay, 
January 19, 1745 ... at that time nineteen acres of land in the town were sold by 
the executors of the Samuel Meyers estate for 65." Henry Isharn Hazleton, The 
Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk^ Long Island, New Tork, 
1600-1924 (New York, 1925), II, 1119-20. Of. Postal and Koppman, op. cit., p. 464. 
The publication of these colonial documents is highly desirable. 

6 Samuel P. Abelow, History of Brooklyn Jewry (Brooklyn, I937)> P- 5- 

i According to Domine Henricus Selyns in October, 1682. Gf. Albion Morris 
Dyer, "Points in the First Chapter of New York Jewish History," PAJHS, III 
(1895), 47* 

8 Cf. Abram Vossen Goodman, American Overture: Jewish Rights in Colonial America 
(Philadelphia, 1947). The problem of permitting Jews to export slaves was treated 
on a different level. Cf. Max J. Kohler, "The Jews and the Anti-Slavery Move- 
ment," PAJHS, V (1897), 141-42. 



York family of any wealth or comfort held slaves, and in keeping 
and even in dealing in them the Jews were neither better nor 
worse than the Christian inhabitants." 9 The second alternative 
is, therefore, a possible one. It is interesting to note that, in a 
relatively early document of this sort, the Jew is referred to as 
eersame, "honorable." It may perhaps suggest that Franckfoort 
was a man of wealth or stature. True, this adjective was com- 
monly used in the legal terminology of that period. Its use with 
reference to a Jew may have been due to the attitude of Johannis 
van Eekeln, the clerk of Midwout, who was also a schoolmaster 
and chorister in Flatbush. x 

To judge by his name, Franckfoort was an Ashkenazic Jew, 
additional proof that Ashkenazim came to this continent in the 
seventeenth century. It is not known whether he hailed from 
Frankfurt-am-Main or from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, x x His sig- 
nature appears to indicate that he was not too skilled in the 
writing of Latin script, for he signed his name as aberham, with 
a small "a." ia His name does not appear on published tax lists 

9 Max J. Kohler, "Phases of Jewish Life in New York before 1800," PAJHS, II 
(1894), 84. On the prevalence of slavery in seventeenth-century New York, cf. 
Samuel McKee, Jr., Labor in Colonial New York, 1664-1776 (New York, 1935), 
p. 115. 

"The contract, dated October 8, 1682, is reprinted in Thompson, A History of 
Long Island from Its Discovery to the Present Time (2nd ed.; New York, 1843), pp. 
285-86; Furman, Antiquities of Long Island, pp. 171-73; and other works. The 
Stryker (Strijker, Strycker) family was prominent in the history of Flatbush. Pietcr 
Strijker's commission as captain of foot, Flatbush, Kings County, issued on Decem- 
ber 27, 1689, is listed in E. B. O'Callaghan, Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the 
Office of the Secretary of State (Albany, N. Y., 1866), Part 2, p. 190, no. 114. There is 
also another mention of him on p. 238. 

1 x The Jews were driven out of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder in the first quarter of the 
sixteenth century. By 1635 some Polish Jews had been readmitted. By 1668 a Jew 
was identified as a resident of the city, and in 167 1 a Jewish community was founded 
by exiles from Vienna. Cf. Josef Heller in Encyclopaedia Judaica (Berlin, 1930), VI, 

* a This may be inconclusive. Varieties in spelling abound in documents of this 



of the period or on other early lists of inhabitants of Manhattan. 
It is possible that this scarcity of information may be attributed 
to his early death or return to Europe. It is also possible that he 
moved to another community or colony. Perhaps he disappeared 
in the Christian majority through intermarriage or conversion, 
with change of name. Whatever the case, the document supplies 
another brick in the structure of the history of early American 


Compareerde voor mij, Johannis van Eekeln, geadmittent 
clerk van der dorpe midwout en der maer genoemde persoone, 
den eersame Abraham Franckfoort een Joodt woonachtig 
in N. Yorck bekent alhier bij deese gecocht te hebben en pieter 
Strijker woonachtig in 't Vlackebos ter ander zijde bekent 
gecocht te hebben een neegerman voor de somme van een 
duijsent en vijf en twintigh gulden segge 1,025 - de eerste paij 
sal zijn de gerechte helft i68f de twede helft oft: paij 168$ 
welke neeger de gemelte pieter Strijker bekent ontfangen te 
hebben. Dit alles sonder drog ofte list gedaen in de dorpe Mid- 
wout deese 15 Augustus 1683. 

[Signature] pieter Strijcker 
In kennisse van mijn Johannis van Ekelen [elk?] 

Ich ondergeschrevene Abraham Franckfoort, bekenne voor de 
bovenstaande neeger ten voile voldaan te sijn de eerste ende 
laatste penninge en bevrijde hem van alle aenmaaning Adij 
[Anno Domini] Midwout Junij 27, i68[?]5[?]. 

[Signature] aberham Franckfort 




Appeared before me, Johannis Van Eekelen, licensed clerk of 
the village [ = Town of] Midwout and [before] the hereafter 
named persons, the honorable [ = worthy] Abraham franckfoort 
[ = Franckfoort,] a Jew[,] residing in N, Yorck[,] who acknowl- 
edges here [ = hereby] that he sold, and Pieter Strijker 
[ = Stryker,] residing in Vlackebos on the other side acknowl- 
edges that he bought a negro man for the sum of one thousand 
and five and twenty [ = twenty-five] guldens [,] that is [=viz.] 
1,025 glds. The first payment shall be the rightful half in i68f ; 
the second half or payment in i68$[,] which [ = , This] negro 
the said Pieter Strijker [ = Stryker] acknowledges he received. 
All this done without deceit or trick, in the village [ Town of] 
Midwout, this is[th] of August, 1683, 

Peter Strijcker [Strycker] 
Known to me, Johannis Van Ekelen [,Clk,] 

I, the undersigned Abraham Franckfoort, acknowledge that I 
have been paid in full for the above named negro, the first and 
last penny fpennie,] and I release him from all claims. In 
Midwout, June 27, i68[?]5[?] A.D. 

aberham Franckfort [Abraham Franckfort] 

* Words in brackets indicate variants from the original text in the official transla- 


The Function of Genealogy in American 
Jewish History 


EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article is based on ten- 
tatively complete genealogical tables compiled by Rabbi 
Stern for all available American Jewish families settled 
in America prior to 1840. This compendium of genealogy 
will be published by the American Jewish Archives under 
the title Americans of Jewish Descent. 

Genesis to Chronicles the Bible is replete with 
genealogies. 1 Those found in Genesis, chapters 4, 5, 10, and 
n, contain intriguing folk-explanations of origins. Of greater 
historical import are the data regarding the kings of Israel and 
Judah scattered throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, 
data which indicate the genealogies of the several dynasties of 
Israel and the Davidic descent of the Judaean rulers. In most 
instances paternity and maternity are indicated, providing a 
complete family record. 

Jeremiah's dual allusion to "a sprout of David" 2 gave rise 
to the concept of Messianic descent from David and led two of 
the New Testament evangelists to include the genealogies of 

Dr. Malcolm H. Stern is the spiritual leader of Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk, Va. 

1 Cf. Emil G. Hirsch, "Genealogy; Biblical Data," Jewish Encyclopedia^ V, 596 ff., 
which lists twenty-eight actual genealogies in the Bible. 

a See Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-16. 



Matthew i and Luke 3 as evidence of Jesus' messiahship. The 
importance of Davidic descent emerged subsequently in the 
Babylonian Jewish community where, from the second to the 
thirteenth centuries, authority was vested in a hereditary 
exilarch for whom the claim of Davidic ancestry was made. 3 

In Jewish ecclesiastical and ritual history, through the last two 
millennia, the traditions of priestly (Cohen) descent and of 
Levitical (Levi) descent have been preserved to some extent. In 
the talmudic period, Aaronite descent was demanded not only 
of the priest but also of his would-be spouse. 4 Through the ages, 
those who preserve a family tradition of priestly descent have 
been required to follow special laws, while both the Cohens and 
the Levis received special prerogatives in synagogal ritual. s 

Among the Jews of Spain, genealogy assumed a dual role. 
Some few Spanish Jews, especially after they became New 
Christians, acquired titles and patents of nobility. Although the 
number of those who achieved such rank is now known to be 
far smaller than has been generally believed, certainly those who 
did acquire exalted station sought to preserve their family 
records. At the same time, the records of the Inquisition were 
careful to preserve evidence of Jewish ancestry, and there are 
instances of New Christians who were still considered "new" 
three and four generations after their forebears' conversion. 6 

The Jewish love of scholarship and the high esteem in which 
leading scholars were held are attested by the fact that descend- 
ants of these intellectual "lights" preserved the record of their 
descent from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century European leaders 

3 Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews (Philadelphia, 1893), II, 509. 

4 Hirsch, loc. cit. 

s Moses Buttenwieser, "Priest," Jewish Encyclopedia, X, 192 ff. 

6 See Isaac Da Costa, Noble Families among the Scphardic Jews (Oxford, 1936), 
pp. 104 ff.; Cecil Roth, A History of the Marranos (Philadelphia, 1932), p. 74; Cecil 
Roth, "Were the Sephardim Hidalgos?" Commentary, XX (1955), pp. 125-31. 



like Meir of Padua and his son, Samuel Judah Katzenellen- 
bogen. 7 

None of these factors has motivated the present work, for it 
has been the exceptional Jewish family that has preserved in 
written form the records of its ancestry. A persecuted minority, 
like the Jews of Europe, beset with the basic problems of achiev- 
ing livelihood and minimal security, had little concern with 
family history. The glories of the general Jewish past satisfied 
the interests of the majority. Nor was the constant movement of 
the Jews in their search for the essentials of life conducive to the 
preservation of lineage records. This fact is clearly evident among 
the hundreds and thousands of migrants from the restrictive 
atmosphere of Europe to the liberty-radiating air of America. 
In pre-nineteenth-century America, the Ashkenazic Jew was 
required to alter his accustomed patronymic (e. g., Abraham 
ben Isaac; i. e., Abraham, son of Isaac) to a "family" or "last" 
name. His Sephardic coreligionist, longer exposed to the custom 
of his Christian neighbors, was usually blessed with three names, 
and so migration usually required no alteration in Sephardic 
nomenclature, although assimilatory tendencies often "reduced" 
the mellifluous Spanish "Pardo" to the common English 
"Brown." 8 Compounding this complicating factor of names were 
the distance and the difficulty of communication across the 
Atlantic Ocean, which frequently severed family ties and made it 
almost impossible, in most instances, for even those who were 
interested to trace their ancestry into Europe. 

As has been indicated, the pioneer Jews were too concerned 
with acquiring the necessities of life to bother with family 
records, and except for an occasional synagogal notation or a 

i Malcolm H. Stern, Americans of Jewish Descent, "SAMUEL II" genealogy. 

* See David de Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone: Early Jewish Settlers, 1682-1831 
(New York, 1952), p. 443. 



family Bible, there have been few ready sources of American 
Jewish genealogy. The fact that the source material for Amer- 
ican Jewish history lies in thousands of bits of data buried in 
congregational archives, family letters and manuscripts, court 
documents, isolated items in print, and inaccessible cemetery 
epitaphs, lends importance to the compilation of genealogy: a 
schematic record of individuals, their family connections, and 
their dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Genealog- 
ical data offer compact source material to the historian, the 
biographer, the sociologist, and even the anthropologist. 

The potential uses of these data are legion. Here are a few 
examples. The wanderings of eighteenth-century American Jews 
can be accurately traced and dated when one examines the 
birthplaces and birth dates of the numerous children of, for 
example, Michael Marks 9 or Philip Moses Russell. * Data long 
in print can be shown to be inaccurate; many biographies of 
Bernard Baruch, for example, repeat the statement that he is 
descended from a late seventeenth-century New York settler, 
Isaac Rodriguez Marques, through the latter's son, Jacob 
Rodriguez Marques, and supposed grandson, another Isaac, 
who changed the family name to Marks and served as a private 
in the New York Militia during the Revolutionary War. As can 
be readily seen from the genealogy, x * Jacob Rodriguez Marques 
died at St. Michaels, Barbados, in 1 725, while the Revolutionary 
private, Isaac Marks, was born in New York in either 1 732 or 

It is often difficult for the historian to determine whether an 
individual American is Jewish or not. Confronted with such 
names as Hart, Davis, and Soher in a locale like Lynchburg, 

s See Stern, "MARKS I" genealogy. 

10 Ibid., "RUSSSLL" genealogy. 

11 Ibid., "MARQUES MARKS IV" genealogy, 



Virginia, the recorder of Jewish history would be inclined to 
ignore the record of Michael Hart, of Lynchburg, and his wife 
Frances, n6e Davis, did the genealogist not unearth them in 
the vital records of New York's Congregation Shearith Israel. 
In these records Michael Hart may be found as the son of a 
well-known London Jew, Benjamin Hart; and Frances Davis 
Hart, as the offspring of a well-documented Jewish family of 
Petersburg, Virginia. Their son, David, married a Rosalie 
Soher, and the genealogist can adduce equal evidence to prove 
the Soher family's Jewish connections. * a 

Isolated items of historical information find their proper frame 
of reference, as in the case of an obscure reference in Myer 
Derkheim's circumcision record 13 to "Moses, the son of Uri 
Feis, born at Norfolk, Va., 1791." A random guess that "Uri 
Feis" might be the synagogal name of Philip Moses Russell, 
known to have been resident in Norfolk in 1791, found corrobo- 
ration when a Russell family Bible came to light with a notation 
of the birth of Philip Moses' son, Moses, "born in Norfolk, May 

Pioneer Jews in communities removed from the Atlantic sea- 
board can be discovered through genealogical data. Thus Ben- 
jamin Myers (1755-1851), known from various sources to have 
been a resident of New York and Westchester County, 14 is 
found to have resided also in Nashville, Tennessee, for a stray 
reference in the Shearith Israel vital records indicates that his 
daughter Sarah was born in Nashville on December 2, 1795. 
Another daughter, Esther, born in New York City in 1805, 
married Benjamin Le Jeune, and they became early Jewish 

" Ibid., "DAVIS" and "SOHER" genealogies. 

*3 See Herbert T. Ezekiel and Gaston Lichtenstein, The History of the Jews of 
Richmond, Va.,from 7769 to 1917 (Richmond, 1917)9 P- 33- 

x * See Stern, "MYERS V" genealogy; Publications of the American Jewish Historical 
Society (PAJHS), XXVI, 174 f.; &, XXVII, 330. 


residents of Kentucky, as the birth of a daughter, Rosina, in 
West Point, Kentucky, in 1832, makes evident. 15 

An even more important demonstration of the usefulness of 
American Jewish genealogical data can be shown in the following 
two studies in assimilation of early American Jewry. 


American Jewish historiography, as well as the compilation of 
American Jewish genealogy, awaited the achievement of a 
large, established, and prospering Jewish community of several 
generations 3 existence in America. While in rare instances this 
requirement had been met earlier, it was not until the late 
nineteenth century that the rise of anti-Semitism, coupled with 
a general American interest in history, brought forth full-scale 
American Jewish histories. Among these were Isaac Markens* 
The Hebrews in America (New York, 1888) and Judge Charles 
P. Daly's * 6 The Settlement of the Jews in North America (New York, 
1893). December, 1892, saw the first meeting of the American 
Jewish Historical Society, whose valuable annual Publications 
began to appear the following year. 

These early writings, written without the benefit of data which 
have since been unearthed, labeled the period from 1654 to 1825 
the Sephardic Period in American Jewish history and assumed 
that the majority of Jews in that era of American life were of 
Spanish-Portuguese descent. The pioneer religious school text- 
's Daughters of the American Revolution Ms. record of Elaine Grauman Myers; 
see Stern, "MYERS V" genealogy. 

16 Judge Charles Patrick Daly (1816-1899), New York-born Catholic, was active 
in a number of cultural enterprises in his native city. He became interested in 
Jews and Jewish history, and was a staunch defender of Jewish rights. His The 
Settlement of the Jews in North America (New York, 1893) was an expansion of an 
address delivered in 1872 at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the New York 
Hebrew Orphan Asylum (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, III, 448). 



book in the field, Lee J. Levinger's A History of the Jews in the 
United States (first edition, Cincinnati, 1930; since revised), fixed 
this concept in the minds of a generation of modern American 
Jews. Later researchers on the subject have adduced the 

While it is true that six of the pioneer American Jewish con- 
gregations 17 founded in the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies followed the Sephardic rite, Rodeph Shalom of Phila- 
delphia, founded in 1795, l8 used the Ashkenazic rite. It is 
probable, too, that the Lancaster community, meeting for wor- 
ship in the late 1 740*8 at the home of Joseph Simon, followed the 
Ashkenazic rite, although close connections with Philadelphia's 
Mikveh Israel may have influenced it toward Sephardic ritual. x 9 
Furthermore, it has been definitely proved that by the middle of 
the eighteenth century, the Ashkenazim in America outnum- 
bered the Sephardim. 2 

As Cecil Roth, the authority on Sephardic Jewry, pointed 
out, 21 the Jews and Marranos from the Iberian Peninsula 
gradually, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 

1 7 The earliest congregations, their locations, names, and dates of founding are: 

New York, Shearith Israel, 1656. 
Newport, R. I., Jeshuat Israel, [1658 or] 1677. 
Savannah, Ga., Mickve Israel, 1733. 
Philadelphia, Mikveh Israel, 1745. 
Charleston, S. G., Beth Elohim, 1750. 
Richmond, Va., Beth Shalome, 1789. 

18 Edwin Wolf 2nd and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews of Philadelphia 
from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson (Philadelphia, 1957), pp. 225 f. 

1 9 No records of this congregation survive. Gf. PAJHS, IX, 36 ff.; Jacob R. Marcus* 
Early American Jewry (Philadelphia, 1951-1953), H, 53 f. 

80 David and Taraar de Sola Pool, An Old Faith in the New World: Portrait of 
Shearith Israel, 1654-1954 (New York, 1955), pp. 459 f-J cf- Marcus, I, xi-xii; 
Hyman B. Grinstein, The Rise of the Jewish Community of New Tork, 1654-1860 
(Philadelphia, 1947), p. 22. 

81 Roth, Commentary, XX, 125-31. 



established themselves economically and, consequently, so- 
cially in such communities as Amsterdam, London, and 
Hamburg, and evolved for themselves a myth of superiority to 
the later arriving masses of Ashkenazic Jewry. The myth grew 
to the status of a conviction, so that by the latter half of the 
eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries, evidences of the 
social distinction appear in print. Especially in England was the 
difference between Sephardi and Tudesco (Spanish for Ashkenazi) 
enlarged upon, so that a marriage between the groups was 
frowned upon as a mesalliance.** In the ketubot of London's 
Sephardic Congregation Bevis Marks, the Ashkenazic brides 
married between 1795 and 1797 are largely identified only 
by the term Tudesca. 23 In America, the myth was enlarged 
to the extent that Christian authors became convinced that 
Sephardic Jews were physically and mentally superior to the 
Ashkenazim. 24 

In the democracy of America's pioneer generations, however, 
these distinctions seem to have had little force on the North 
American continent, where the Ashkenazim struggled side by 
side with the Sephardim for livelihoods, and where both groups 
produced economic and social leaders. 

Less tolerant of the Ashkenazim were the West Indian con- 
gregations, like the one at Curagao, which in 1 728 addressed to 
New York's Congregation Shearith Israel a famous letter, en- 
closing a gift for the New York congregation's building fund, 

aa Cf. the story of Jacob Israel Bernal, gabay (treasurer) of Bevis Marks Synagogue 
of London, who resigned his office in order to marry a Tudesca and was subjected 
to severe conditions before the elders of the congregation would permit his marriage 
to take place (Bevis Marks Records, II, vi); cf. Albert M. Hyamson, The Sephardim 
of England: A History of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community, 1492-1951 
(London, 1951), pp. 170 f. 

3 a Bevis Marks Records, II, vii, 113. 

a < E. g., Burton J. Hendrick, "Judah P. Benjamin," Statesmen of the Lost Cause: 
Jefferson Davis and His Cabinet (New York, 1939), pp. 153 ff. 



with the proviso that control of the congregation remain in the 
hands of the Sephardic minority. 2 s 

Identification of Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The chief 
factor in determining which individuals are of Sephardic back- 
ground and which of Ashkenazic is the family name. Throughout 
the Middle Ages, most Jews were identified by their familiar 
Hebrew patronymic, e. g., Mosheh ben Maimon (Moses, the son 
of Maimon). Under Arabic domination, some Jews acquired 
Moslem-type names, such as Abu al-Walid Merwan (eleventh- 
century Spanish physician), along with their traditional syna- 
gogal names. (Abu al-Walid Merwan, for example, bore the 
synagogal name Jonah ibn Janach.) This dual naming custom 
passed into Christian-dominated Spain where it became quite 
common for assimilative Jews to bear a "Christian" name as 
well as a "Jewish" one. Indeed, the Church often sought to 
prohibit the custom among Jews. 36 Among the Spanish aris- 
tocracy of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, it 
became customary to adopt as part of a family name both 
patronymic and matronymic, and this led to triple names, a 
practice soon generally followed in Christian, Marrano, and 
Jewish communities. This was especially true among the Mar- 
ranos, many of whom acquired new names at baptism, frequently 
the name of their Christian sponsor. 27 As the Marranos fled 
from Spain and Portugal to northern Europe many of them 
returned to Judaism, and assumed synagogal names, often 
entirely different from their Marrano names, but still preserving 
the flavor of the Iberian nomenclature. 2 8 

S, XXVII, 3f. 

a6 Abraham A. Neuman, The Jews in Spain: Their Social, Political and Cultural Life 
During the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, 1942), II, 182, 257, 320 (note 3). 

2 ? Roth, Commentary, XX, 125-31. 

a8 Cf. Stern, "DA COSTA III" and "SEIXAS (i)" genealogies. 



Further confusion for the genealogist is created by the fact 
that in some Sephardic communities the tradition, derived from 
Spain, was preserved by which a child chose to use his maternal 
rather than his paternal family name. This custom seems to 
have prevailed more in the West Indian Sephardic communities 
than among the British Sephardim. 2 9 

But even with all these variations in nomenclature, the 
Sephardic family name remains fairly identifiable, except in 
those cases where residents of English-speaking lands chose to 
Anglicize their name (e. g., Pardo to Brown), 30 Other peculi- 
arities of Sephardic genealogy include the use of the particle 
de to indicate "son of." To differentiate individuals of one family 
bearing similar names, two generations are often indicated by 
de (e. g., Daniel de Joshua de Daniel Peixotto, showing that 
Daniel is the son of Joshua who is the son of Daniel). It was not 
uncommon for Sephardim to marry first cousins or to name 
sons after fathers; Ashkenazim married less frequently within 
their own families, and custom forbade naming a child after a 
living person. 

Although most German Jews had some form of last name, these 
often varied from individual to individual within one family, 
and it was not until the Austrian edict of 1787 and Napoleon's 
decree of 1808 that the masses of the Jews of Central and Eastern 
Europe were compelled to adopt consistent family names. Those 
Jews who migrated to English-speaking lands prior to these 
edicts usually adopted an Anglicized version of the patronymic 
(e. g., Abraham or Abrahams, indicating that the bearer was 
the son of an Abraham) . Occasionally the surname was chosen 
from the place of European origin (e. g., names ending in 

Gf. the Rev. Moses Levy Maduro Peixotto, son of Samuel Levy Maduro and 
Leah Cohen Peixotto (see Stern, "PEIXOTTO I [2]" genealogy); cf. also Bevis Marks 
Records, I and II, where patronymics seem to be used exclusively. 

jo See Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone, pp. 443 f. 


"-heim") or from the family occupation (e. g., Kaufman). 
These same factors affected the names of those compelled by 
European residence to assume last names. 3 r 

On the basis of the above criteria, we have elected to consider 
as Sephardic those with Iberian-sounding names, especially 
when such names occur in the index to the ketubot of Bevis 
Marks 3 2 or in the list of members of the Brazilian Jewish com- 
munity. 33 All other families have been assumed to be Ashke- 

Having established our criteria for determining which families 
are Sephardic and which are Ashkenazic, we can proceed to a 
statistical study of genealogical data, and from them measure the 
extent of the disappearance of the Sephardim through marriage 
with the Ashkenazim. For the purposes of this study, we made 
a list of all marriages available for the period prior to 1840 in 
which the full names of both spouses are given. In those instances 
in which no marriage date was available, we assumed that if the 
male was born prior to 1815 and the female before 1820, their 
marriage took place by 1840, unless otherwise indicated by the 
birth dates of their children. 

We found 942 American marriages in this period, and these 
subdivide as follows: 

Ashkenazim to Ashkenazim 536 marriages 

Sephardim to Sephardim 101 marriages 

Sephardim to Ashkenazim 155 marriages 

Jewish-Christian marriages 150 marriages 

In arriving at these figures, we have included all those with 
Sephardic surnames as Sephardic, even though maternal an- 

* For details, see "Names," Jewish Encyclopedia, IX, 156; Universal Jewish 
Encyclopedia, VIII, 95 ff. 
** Bevis Marks Records, II. 



cestry may be Ashkenazic. Similar criteria were applied to 

Of the 1 01 marriages of Sephardim to Sephardim, more than 
half (fifty-three) took place in the West Indies where the com- 
munities have remained predominantly Sephardic, so that there 
was little absorption of Sephardim by Ashkenazim in the Carib- 
bean area. While we included in our statistics only those West 
Indian Jewish families whose members reached the North 
American continent, the dominance of the Sephardim in the 
West Indies is further attested by the fact that among the above- 
mentioned Sephardic- Ashkenazic marriages we find only twelve 
taking place in the islands, and six of these are within one family 

The Sephardim whose families settled in continental North 
America prior to 1840 have disappeared almost completely. 
Most of the families have died out. The remainder have been 
absorbed either by marriage with Ashkenazim or by marriage 
with non-Jews. Of the aforementioned 101 marriages of Sephar- 
dim to Sephardim, forty-eight took place in the area of the 
continental United States, and of the latter, fifteen of the 
marriages were between individuals who had Ashkenazic as well 
as Sephardic ancestry. 

Our statistics cover forty-five genealogies of Sephardic families 
settled in continental North America before 1840. Six of these 
married only Sephardim prior to 1840; they are: De Lucena, 
(Bueno) de Mesquita, Marques, and Rivera, who lived only 
in the early eighteenth century when the Sephardic and Ash- 
kenazic American communities were approximately equal in 
size; and the Naar and Palache families, which came from the 
West Indies to the New York area in the 1830*8 and married 
almost exclusively with others in their own group, before 1840. 

Of the remaining thirty-nine Sephardic-American families, 
thirty-six intermarried with Ashkenazim within one generation 


after their arrival in America. The other three families married 
as follows: Samuel Souza, a Sephardi from Bayonne, France, 
married, prior to coming to America, Minkella Gerf, a Prussian- 
born Ashkenazi; David Nunez Carvalho, married to a Sephardi 
in Charleston, S. C., had one son married to a Sephardi and one 
to an Ashkenazi, while two children of the Sephardi-Sephardi 
match married Ashkenazim; and while all the children of the 
Reverend Moses Levy Maduro Peixotto married Sephardim, 
most of his grandchildren married Ashkenazim. 

A further examination of our forty-five Sephardic-American 
families will show that only nine have living members who may 
still be identified as part of the Jewish community: (Fonseca) 
Brandon, Cardozo, Delmar, Lopez I (the family of Diego Jose 
Lopez, of Portugal), Naar, Nones, Peixotto, Seixas, and Solis. 
Many individuals among these families have intermarried with 
non-Jews in recent generations, so that it is difficult to ascertain 
positive Jewish identification. In addition to these nine families, 
however, only the name of Carvalho survives today, and the 
present Carvalho generation is completely intermarried. 

Thus, we may summarize our findings by stating categorically 
what most historians and sociologists in this field have surmised: 
the pre-i84O Sephardic settlers on the North American con- 
tinent have all but lost their identity as Sephardic Jews. Their 
absorption through marriage by the faster-growing Ashkenazic 
community took place almost at once, and the process was 
already evident prior to 1840. Through marriage with non-Jews, 
as will be shown in the next section, they lost not only their 
Sephardic but also their Jewish identity, so that few vestiges 
remain of this once-important group. 

A schematic presentation of the above data will be found in 
Appendix I. 




We turn now to a consideration of those factors which led to the 
assimilation of Jews by non-Jews through marriage in the period 
prior to 1840. 

Throughout American Jewish history it has been impossible 
to ascertain an exact figure on the number of Jews in the 
United States at any given time. The first American Jewish Tear 
Book, 1899-1900, stated: 

As the census of the United States has, in accordance with the spirit of 
American institutions, taken no heed of the religious convictions of 
American citizens, whether native-born or naturalized, all statements 
concerning the number of Jews living in this country are based upon 
estimate, though several of the estimates have been most conscien- 
tiously made. 

The statement continues with estimates made by various indi- 
viduals and publications, of which the first three fall within our 
period: Mordecai M. Noah's estimate of 1818; Isaac Harby's 
estimate of 1826; and that of the 1840 American Almanac.* 4 Let 
us compare these figures with those of the nearest census year 
for the whole population: 

No. of Jews U. S. Census No. of All Americans** 

(round figures) 

1818 3,000 1820 9,638,000 

1826 6,000 1830 12,866,000 

1840 15,000 1840 17,069,000 

Thus we see that throughout this period the Jews constituted 
only a fraction of one per cent of the population. Most of the 

" American Jewish Tear Book: 5660 (Philadelphia, 1899), p. 283. 
*s Information Please Almanac (New York, 1954), p. 211. 



pioneer Jews, like those of the larger group who were to arrive 
after 1848, had been limited in Europe to mercantile enter- 
prises, and thus the early settlers and their immigrant successors 
remained, for the most part, in the growing urban areas of the 
Atlantic seaboard. 

In the period under survey, Jewish congregations were 
ministered to by laymen. Some of these laymen achieved real 
status as "minister," a title new to Jewish life when it was 
instituted on the American scene. No ordained rabbi appeared in 
the United States as a resident until 1840. The conduct of wor- 
ship, the interpretation of Jewish law and lore, and the tradi- 
tional functions of ritual slaughtering and circumcision were 
carried on by lay leaders, many of them self-taught. 36 As a 
consequence, the real power in the congregation rested with 
the all-powerful parnas ("president") and to a lesser extent with 
the board of directors. Jewish law, except when, in the direst of 
cases, appeal was made to European rabbinic authorities, was 
interpreted, usually from memory, by these leaders. Feeling the 
weight of their responsibility to guide their people, they invari- 
ably gave most stringent answers to queries and verdicts in 
trials. 37 

As a consequence, mixed marriages between Jews and 
Gentiles were officially disapproved. In defense of this position 
it should be recorded that proper conversion under Jewish law 
required examination of the convert by a court consisting of 
three ordained rabbis; such a court was unavailable in America 
until 1846. 38 It followed that the Jew who married out of the 
faith often found it simpler to leave the Jewish community. 3 9 

3* Grinstein, pp. 81-99, 543 (note 14)- 

s? Ibid., pp. 58-80; cf. also Pool, An Old Faith in the New World, pp. 258-301. 

3 Grinstein, pp. 294-96; Pool, pp. 249-51. 

Jacob R. Marcus, "Light on Early Connecticut Jewry," American Jewish Archives, 

I (No. 2), 24 ff. 



Often Jews in the rural areas, desirous of retaining their Jewish 
identity, avoided the requirements of Jewish law by living in a 
common-law relationship with their non-Jewish mates. 40 The 
social and economic advantages of assimilating to the majority 
group also led to defections from the Jewish ranks. 4 1 

With these factors in mind, let us examine some details of the 
record of the American Jewish community before 1840. Of the 
150 mixed marriages mentioned above, twelve give some evi- 
dence of the Christian spouse's conversion to Judaism. In every 
instance except one, the Jewish spouse belonged to a family 
strongly identified with a congregation. The exception, Cath- 
erine, wife of George Lyon, converted to Judaism just prior to 
the birth of her sixth child. 42 Further details regarding these 
converts will be found in Appendix IL 

Although the great majority of these mixed marriages led 
to identification with the Christian community, in at least eight 
instances some effort was made to keep the family or a portion 
of it in the Jewish fold. Again, it seems that those living in 
urban communities where other Jews resided had better moti- 
vation toward this than did, for example, Michael Judah, 
residing in Norwalk, Connecticut, in the eighteenth century. 
Judah had his son, David, ritually circumcised, but failed to 
keep the son identified with Judaism. 43 At the opposite pole 
were several families that had their children baptized, and in a 
few cases the Jewish father himself was baptized. These and other 
special instances are recorded in Appendix III, 

* E. g., the will of David Isaacs refers to his children by Nancy West (Albemarle 
County, Va., Will Book 12, 1837, p. 366). Isaac Levy refers to his son and daughter 
as "children of Elizabeth Pue" (Philadelphia Will Book i, 1777, p. 777). Isaac 
Rodriguez alludes to Catherine De Spencer as "now living with me and partner in 
business" (Philadelphia Wills No. 135, Book 6, 1816, p. 358). 

* J Marcus, Early American Jewry, II, 503, 

4* Shearith Israel Vital Records. 

43 Marcus, Early American Jewry, I, 175 f. 

8 4 


The opprobrium with which Jewish families met intermar- 
riage is readily evident in the fact that even families whose 
genealogies are well-documented often made brusque allusion 
to the non-Jewish spouses of their kinfolk in the family record. 
In twelve instances we find only the statement: "Married a 
Christian," or "Gentile/ 5 or "out," or "Catholic," or, in one 
case, "an Irish cook." Eleven others listed such spouses either 
by first or last name but not by both. 

While it has been impossible to ascertain the social status of 
the majority of the families with whom the Jews intermarried, 
both extremes appear on our charts. The three Franks mar- 
riages, those of Phila to General Oliver DeLancey, of Abigail 
to the prominent Andrew Hamilton III, of Philadelphia, and 
of Rebecca to Lieutenant Colonel (later Sir) Henry Johnson, 
are well-known to students of American Jewish history. 44 Among 
other marriages with people of title or social standing we find 
that Catherine Hyams married Anthony Broglio, Marquis 
Solari; a scion of the Canadian Harts married a niece of Jefferson 
Davis; Caroline Marx, of Richmond, married Richard Barton 
of an old Virginia plantation family; and three daughters of 
Samuel Wolfe married Civil War generals. At the other end of 
the social scale, we have at least two records of liaisons with 
ladies of some Negro descent. 

Summarizing our findings, we note that upward of 15 per cent 
of the marriages recorded before 1840 were between Jews and 
Christians. Of these mixed marriages less than 8 per cent led to 
the conversion of the Christian spouse to Judaism, and only 5 
per cent of those who did not convert made any apparent effort 
to identify themselves with the Jewish community. This leaves 
87 per cent who seem to have become completely assimilated 

44 The St. Charles, I (1935), pp. 31-48, 67; Lee M. Friedman, Jewish Pioneers and 
Patriots (Philadelphia, 1942), pp. 227-44; Marcus, Early American Jewry, I, 67 f., 
and II, 1 12 f. 



into the non-Jewish community, although the bare statistic 
takes no cognizance of the fact that many a Christian descendant 
of a Jewish ancestor has found himself labelled "Jew" even 
generations after the family embraced Christianity, 4 s 

We have shown that Judaism, officially and socially, frowned 
on intermarriage and offered no encouragement to would-be 
converts, but that proximity to Jewish congregations and 
strength of family affiliation did lead to the few conversions 
which took place. 

Moreover, the above statistics show that although inter- 
marriage was prevalent among America's early Jewish settlers, 
it does not seem to have been so great as one might expect from 
the ratio of the Jewish to the non-Jewish population. But once 
an intermarriage did take place, the rate of the assimilation of 
he Jew into his non-Jewish environment was high. 

Marcus, Early American Jewry, II, 97. 



Family Name 

Date when 
first known in 
North America 

No. of settled generations 
before intermarriage with 

Family faith if 










married only 
married only 

married only 







died out 
Jewish and 

died out 
died out 
died out 
died out 
died out 







died out 


TACOB R 1 . 









(Originally of 
Bordeaux, France) 






(Family of Abram 
Henriques Quixano, 
of Spain) 

* Harby is included as Sephardic because of the immediate background of the 
first American generation (cf. PAJHS, XXXII, 45 ff.). 


Family Name 

Date when 
first known in 
North America 

No. of settled generations 
before intermarriage with 

Family faith if 





ca. 1742 










married only 
married only 

married only 










4 (converts) 

died out 

died out 
Jewish and 

died out 
died out 


early American 
tranches died out 


died out 


Jewish and 
died out 

died out 


Jewish and 
died out 
died out 



(Family of Moses 
Henriques, of 



(Family of Diego 
Jose Lopez, of 

























BEFORE 1840 

(The Jewish spouse is listed first; then the convert.) 

ALEXANDER, ABRAHAM, SR., married, in Charleston, S. C., his second 
wife, Ann Sarah Irby, n6e Huguenin, of Protestant Huguenot 
extraction, on December 26, 1784, at which time he was appar- 
ently compelled to surrender his position as volunteer hazzan of 
Congregation Beth Elohim. His bride evidently underwent a 
conversion prior to their marriage and, according to family 
tradition, was most observant in her Jewish practices. She survived 
her husband by nineteen years and in her will requested burial 
in the cemetery of Beth Elohim, a request which seems not to 
have been granted as her conversion failed to meet strict Jewish 
requirements. (H. A. Alexander, Notes on the Alexander Family . . . 
[Atlanta: privately printed, 1954], pp. 13-15.) 

COHEN, ABRAHAM HYAM, was the son, assistant, and successor of the 
Reverend Jacob Raphael Cohen, a native of the Barbary States, 
who had served Shearith Israel of Montreal and of New York 
before exchanging pulpits, in 1784, with Gershom Mendes 
Seixas. The latter, with many members of Philadelphia's Mikveh 
Israel, returned to New York after the Revolution, and Cohen 
went to serve the Philadelphia congregation, now depleted in 
membership. Cohen functioned as cantor, ritual slaughterer, and 
circumciser until his death in 1811. Ill-health and inadequate 
income led to frequent altercations with the adjunta ("board") 
of the congregation, and on many occasions he relied on his son 
to assist or replace him. Upon the father's death, the son func- 
tioned pro tempore until he secured his election as official hazzan, 
but in 1815, Abraham H. Cohen resigned over what hie consid- 
ered a slight to his father's memory. In the light of these bog raphi- 
cal data, it is perhaps significant that the Mikveh Israel records are 
absolutely silent about his marriage. Indeed, our only source of 
information about his spouse is the lady's memoirs, published in 
1860 under the title, Henry Luria, or the Little Jewish Convert (New 
York: John F. Trow, printer), a precis of which appears in 
Ezekiel and Lichtenstein, The History of the Jews of Richmond. 
The future Mrs. Cohen, n6e Picken, was the daughter of a 
Presbyterian minister, but had been reared as an Episcopalian, 
In January, 1806, when she met Abraham H. Cohen, she was a 



young widow. Their romance came to his father's ears, anc 
called his son before the adjunta, which endeavored to ext 
from the young lover an oath that he would marry only a Jevi 
Instead, he persuaded his sweetheart to embrace Judaism, 
despite the traditional rejection of converts, the full cerem 
was performed, as vividly described by Mrs. Cohen, in 
presence of the "elders of the congregation," and the coi 
married on May 28, 1806. It is probable that out of deferenc 
the aging and infirm father, the adjunta permitted the marr 
to take place, but neither Benjamin Nones' carefully presei 
congregational archives, nor the Reverend Jacob Cohen's deta 
record of his births, circumcisions, and marriages, alludes tc 
Subsequently, in 1821, Mrs. Cohen fell ill and became obsei 
with a desire to reject her conversion, and in 1828, shortly a 
her husband accepted a call to serve as hazzan for Beth Shale 
Congregation in Richmond, the death of their small son, He 
Luria, led the mother formally to recant her conversion. r . 
precipitated a separation in 1831, and they remained apart 
the last ten years of the husband's life. (Herbert T. Ezekiel 
Gaston Lichtenstein, The History of the Jews of Richmond, 
from 7769 to 1917 [Richmond, 1917], pp. 219-21; Edwin V 
2nd and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews of Philade[ 
from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson [Philadelphia, 19 
PP- 237-38.) 

COHEN, JACOB I., in the fall of 1 782, married Elizabeth (Esther) Mordt 
ne'e Whitlock. She was evidently English, and about 1760 
1761 converted in order to marry Moses Mordecai, a man thi 
seven years her senior, who brought her to Philadelphia 
died there twenty years later, leaving her a poor widow v 
three young sons. She met Jacob I. Cohen, and despite 
efforts of Congregation Mikveh Israel to block their marri 
on the ground that he was a Cohen (of priestly stock) and 
eligible to marry a convert, they married, moved to Richmc 
and lived "happily ever after." She, too, seems to have b 
denied burial in the Jewish cemetery of Richmond, for 
epitaph is in the record of St. John's Episcopal Church. (Eze 
and Lichtenstein, The History of the Jews of Richmond, p. 
Jacob R. Marcus, Early American Jewry [Philadelphia, 19 
1953], II, 185-87; Wolf and Whiteman, The History of the j 
of Philadelphia, p. 126.) 


JUDAH, URIAH HENDRICKS, as his name indicates, a scion of two of 
the leading families in New York's Congregation Shearith Israel, 
was also connected genealogically with such important clans as 
Seixas, Gomez, Nathan, and Myers. We can imagine the stir 
created when he fell in love with a Gentile, one Gertrude Simonson. 
Her desire to convert met with the traditional opposition on the 
part of the congregation's officialdom, so she went elsewhere 
(probably to one of the three Ashkenazic congregations which 
had been formed in New York) and underwent conversion. The 
couple returned to Shearith Israel, and by pointing to precedents 
in the congregation's records, persuaded the authorities to permit 
Hazzan Isaac B. Seixas to solemnize their marriage, which took 
place on July 27, 1836. One wonders whether Uriah's and 
Gertrude's difficulties affected the case of Uriah's brother, De 
Witt Clinton Judah, When his eyes strayed matrimonially beyond 
the Jewish fold, there is no record of any effort at conversion, and 
the family recorded this match with the curt statement: "Married 
an Irish cook." (David and Tamar de Sola Pool, An Old Faith 
in the New World: Portrait of Shearith Israel, 1654-1954 [New York, 
1955], p. 251; Shearith Israel Vital Records.) 

LYON, GEORGE, is known to us only through the vital records of New 
York's Shearith Israel. We can only guess that either his arrival 
in the metropolis from some outpost or his sudden desire to rear 
his ever-growing family in the faith of his fathers brought him to 
arrange for the conversion of his wife, Catherine (maiden name 
unrecorded), a ceremony which took place on April 8, 1821. 
When, three years later, on October 19, 1824, their sixth child, 
Joseph, was born, George Lyon recorded his birth in the con- 
gregation's archives. The father listed himself as George 
Hebrew name, Judah, son of Isaac Lyon, and added the 
names of his first five children (Shearith Israel Vital Records) . 

NATHAN, ESTHER, youngest of the five daughters of Lyon and Caroline 
Webb Nathan (below), married, at some point, a Dr. Bingley. 
On the grounds that her father was an official of the synagogue, 
and that three of her four sisters married men who were actively 
identified with congregations, the late Dr. Walter Max Kraus 
assumed that Bingley was a convert (Kraus-Sandor Collection). 

NATHAN, LYON, married in New York, in 1750, Caroline Webb, by 
whom he had five daughters. By 1770, he was living in Phila- 
delphia, and when Congregation Mikveh Israel erected its first 


synagogue, he was the successful candidate of the three who 
applied for the position of shammas ("sexton"). On this slim 
evidence we have made the assumption that his wife was a 
convert, or else deceased, for it is hardly likely that the husband 
of a Gentile would have acquired the menial, but ritually 
important, post over his competitors. (Kraus-Sandor Collection; 
David de Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone: Early Jewish Settlers, 
1682-1831 [New York, 1952], pp. 288, 401, 403, 412; Wolf and 
Whiteman, p. 124.) 

NATHANS, ISAIAH, married, as his first wife, a woman named Barbara 
(last name unknown), who, upon her conversion, was given the 
Hebrew name Sarah. That her conversion was accepted by his 
fellow Philadelphians is attested by the fact that she was buried 
in the Spruce Street Burying Ground of Mikveh Israel Con- 
gregation (Spruce Street Cemetery Record). 

NATHANS, MOSES, elder brother of Isaiah, seems to have lived in 
common-law relationship with a non-Jewess, Betty Hart, before 
1790. On January n, 1792, they were legally married in Phila- 
delphia. Moses petitioned Mikveh Israel for the conversion of his 
wife, and after some delay, this was accomplished. They were re- 
married according to the Jewish rite in Philadelphia, May 18, 
1 794, and she, like her sister-in-law, received the synagogal name 
of Sarah Abrahams. She was born in 1756, and died in Phila- 
delphia, March 12, 1830, with burial in the congregation's 
cemetery. (Wolf and Whiteman, p. 127; Spruce Street Cemetery 
Record; Myer Solis-Cohen.) 

NONES, DAVID BENJAMIN, son of the Revolutionary patriot, Benjamin 
Nones, married a woman named Anna. As the eldest son of a 
man prominent in the affairs of Mikveh Israel, David succeeded 
in bringing his wife into the Jewish fold and in having bestowed 
upon her the Hebrew equivalent of her name, Hannah, with the 
traditional patronymic of a convert, bat Abraham (daughter of 
Abraham our father). Their marriage is recorded, probably in 
his father's handwriting, in the Mikveh Israel vital records, as 
having taken place on September 6, 1818, and she found accept- 
ance in the Jewish community, for her burial is recorded for 
August 28, 1832 (Mikveh Israel Records; Spruce Street Cemetery 
Records) . 

SALOMON, DEBORAH, renamed DELIA (probably at a time of severe 
illness to delude the Angel of Death, in keeping with a traditional 



Jewish custom), was the eldest child of Haym M. Salomon, and 
granddaughter of the famous financier, Haym Salomon. On July 
15, 1840, she married, in the city of New York, a convert to 
Judaism, Dr. J. W. (or T. W.} Donovan. This conversion is attested 
by the fact that the marriage is recorded in the Shearith Israel 
vital records. Her father, too, mentions the marriage and the 
name of this son-in-law without comment, whereas, when Delia's 
brother, Ezekiel, married, the father wrote: "Married a lady 
not a Hebrew. . ." (Shearith Israel Vital Records, Salomon 
Family Record [American Jewish Historical Society]). 

SEIXAS, BENJAMIN (1811-1871)5 eldest son of Moses Benjamin and 
Judith Levy Seixas, belonged to a family both prolific and 
actively identified with colonial congregations for three genera- 
tions before Benjamin's birth. We do not know exactly when 
Benjamin married Mary Jessup, but their eldest child was born 
in New York, on June 21, 1832. At the time of the marriage, 
Benjamin's uncle, Isaac B. Seixas, must have been functioning 
as hazzan of New York's Shearith Israel. The absence of the 
marriage from the congregation's vital records may show that 
Benjamin, to avoid embarrassment to his uncle, took his bride 
to one of the "German" congregations for conversion. Evidently 
her conversion was recognized, for her death on January 25, 
1869, is recorded, and she seems to have been buried in the 
congregation's cemetery at Cypress Hills. (Shearith Israel Vital 
Records; Pool, An Old Faith, pp. 176 f.) 




DA COSTA, SARAH, daughter of Isaac Da Costa, first hazzan of 
Charleston's Congregation Beth Elohim, married a Revolutionary 
colonel, David Mqysor, of whom nothing is known, but who seems 
definitely not to have been a Jew. His death in 1780, three 
years after the birth of their only known child, Rebecca, un- 
doubtedly led her mother to rear Rebecca as a Jewess. Thus it 
was that Rebecca subsequently married the scion of a well-known 
Jewish family, David Hyams. (Charles Reznikoff, with the col- 
laboration of Uriah Z. Engelman, The Jews of Charleston: A 
History of an American Jewish Community [Philadelphia, 1950], 
p. 15; DAR Lineage Book; Ancker DAR Lineage.) 

FRANKS, DAVID, the important Philadelphia merchant and land 
promoter, as is well-known, married Margaret Evans, a daughter 
of Philadelphia's Registrar of Wills. Their five children, born 
between 1744 and 1760, were all baptized at Christ Church, 
although David Franks maintained a semblance of Jewish identity 
by contributing to his father's synagogue, Shearith Israel of 
New York, and even attended services there. (Marcus, Early 
American Jewry, II, 10 f.; Wolf and Whiteman, p. 33.) 

HART, BERNARD (1763-1855), well-known in the annals of New York's 
Shearith Israel as well as in those of the New York Stock Exchange, 
whose secretary he was, in 1799 contracted a marriage with a 
non- Jewess, Catherine Brett. They soon separated, and even though 
he contributed to her support and that of their son Henry, this 
liaison remained a secret for over a century. Bernard subsequently 
married Rebecca Seixas and had a large family, long unaware of 
their relationship to one of America's leading men of letters, Bret 
Harte, grandson of Bernard. (Helen I. Davis, "Bret Harte and 
His Jewish Ancestor, Bernard Hart," PAJHS, XXXII, 99-1 1 1 ; 
Pool, An Old Faith in the New World, p. 316.) 

ISAACS, RALPH, a colonial resident of Connecticut, may or may not 
have been a Jew. Kraus states that he was a cousin of Aaron 
Isaacs of Easthampton, L. I., a known Jew, but fails to support 
the statement with evidence. If Kraus is correct, then his deduction 
that Isaacs was a convert to Christianity may also be correct. 
(Kraus-Sandor Collection; cf. Jacob R. Marcus, "Light on Early 
Connecticut Jewry," American Jewish Archives, I [No. 2], 20-21.) 



ISRAEL, ISRAEL, is a similar case of questionable Jewish origin. Morais, 
who consulted with Israel's descendants, points out that the 
family was of Jewish origin, but that Israel Israel himself was 
not Jewish. He is known to have been the son of Michael Israe] 
and Mary J. Paxton, of Philadelphia. It is also known that Isaac 
Adolphus, prominent New York Jewish merchant, had a nephew, 
by the name of Michael Israel, resident in Philadelphia in the 
eighteenth century, and we have chosen to believe that the two 
Michael Israels are the same individual. If our assumption is 
correct, then Israel Israel, the son of a Jewish father and a Chris- 
tian mother, was baptized on June 13, 1746, at the age of twenty 
months. (Henry Samuel Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia: T heir 
History from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time [Philadelphia, 
l8 94L PP- 3 I -34; Elzas Mss.) 

JUDAH, MARIA, was the fourth child of Benjamin S. Judah (1760- 
1831), one of the most active and prominent members of Con- 
gregation Shearith Israel in New York. Benjamin was a man of 
strong opinions, ever ready to fight for his views. History does not 
record his reactions when, on January 28, 1829, Maria became 
the bride of Stephen C. Richard, "in a church." (Kraus-Sandor 
Collection; Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone; Pool, An Old Faith in 
the New World.) 

LEVY, SAMSON (1722-1781), was the fourth child and oldest son of 
Moses Levy and his second wife, Grace Mears. Moses Levy was the 
most prosperous member of Shearith Israel in the early decades 
of the eighteenth century and seems to have been president of the 
congregation at the time of his death in 1728, shortly before the 
erection of the congregation's first synagogue. Samson followed 
his older half-brothers, Nathan and Isaac, to Philadelphia. On 
November 3, 1752/3, he married, in Old Swedes' Church, a 
widow, Martha Lampley Thompson. According to the well-preserved 
family Bible, their eldest son was circumcised by the New York 
mohel, Jacob Moses, in 1754. The gradual assimilation of the 
family is attested by the fact that no more circumcisions are 
recorded, and in 1780, the three youngest children, Henrietta, 
Samson, Jr., and Rachel, were baptized in Christ Church at the 
ages of twelve, sixteen, and nine, respectively, (Lee M. Friedman, 
Pilgrims in a New Land [Philadelphia, 1948], p. 96; Pool, Portraits 
Etched in Stone, pp. 198-201.) 



LOPEZ, DAVID, JR., a scion of the Charleston, S. C., branch of the old 
Newport clan, married, in April, 1832, a non-Jewess, Catherine D. 
Hinton, by whom he had five children. Her death in 1843 precip- 
itated a burial problem for Congregation Beth Elohim. Lopez 
solved the problem by purchasing his own cemetery adjacent to 
that of the congregation. His second wife, Rebecca Moise, was a 
Jewess, which may account for the fact that the three of her 
stepchildren (whom she helped rear with her own brood of six) 
who married did so within the Jewish fold. (Lopez Genealogy, 
in Jacob R. Marcus Collection; Reznikoff and Engelman, p. 152.) 

MARKS, MORDECAI, eight months before his marriage to Elizabeth 
Torieu, of Stratford, Conn., was baptized in the Episcopal Church, 
on April 20, 1729. The baptismal record lists him as "Mordecai 
Marks, Jew." (S. Orcutt, History of Stratford, Conn., II, pp. 1243- 
44; cf. Jacob R. Marcus, "Light on Early Connecticut Jewry," 
American Jewish Archives, I, No. 2, p. 26.) 

MARX, CAROLINE (1800-83), demonstrates the gradual assimilation of 
two Virginia families: the Marx family, descended from Joseph 
Marx, of Richmond; and the Myers family, descended from 
Moses Myers, of Norfolk. A glance at the genealogies of these 
two clans will show that Caroline became the second wile of 
Richard Barton, plantation owner of Orange County, Virginia. 
Caroline's older sisters, Louisa and Judith Marx, married the 
brothers Samuel and Myer Myers of Norfolk, respectively. The 
Myers clan was apparently stronger in their Judaism than 
the Marxes, for on the death of Myer Myers, his widow, Judith, 
promptly became an Episcopalian. And the marriages of the 
subsequent generations between descendants of the Bartons and 
those of Samuel and Louisa Myers led to further defections from 
the Jewish fold. Samuel and Louisa's son, Moses Myers II, was 
buried in Norfolk's Hebrew cemetery, but his remains were 
removed by his son Barton to the Christian Elmwood Cemetery. 
(Family records.) 

MOISE, THEODORE SIDNEY, a member of a well-known Charleston 
family, married, in 1836, Cecilia F. Moses, a Charleston Jewess. 
He found Charleston a barren field for his talents as a portrait 
artist and subsequently, following the death of his wife, moved 
to New Orleans, where he married a Catholic, Matilda Vaughan. 
Two of their offspring entered the Church, Robert as a priest, 



and Charles as Brother Ambrose, (Elzas Mss.; Reznikoff and 
Engelman, p. 88.) 

PETTIGREW, JAMES (1756-1793), a Scottish-born Revolutionary soldier, 
met and eloped with Judith, daughter of Myer Hart, one of the 
founders of Easton, Pa., and its leading Jewish merchant. They 
were married by a Christian chaplain, but with the prospective 
arrival of their first child, her mother persuaded Judith's uncle, the 
Reverend Mordecai M. Mordecai, a functionary of Philadelphia's 
Mikveh Israel, to perform a Jewish wedding ceremony. The 
young couple agreed that their sons would be reared as Christians 
and their daughters as Jewesses. Mordecai's action led to a cause 
citibre when the news leaked into Philadelphia. Family records 
indicate that, of the Pettigrews' seven children, three daughters 
married, and married Jews, so the agreement was evidently kept. 
(The St. Charles, I [1935], pp. I33f.; Wolf and Whiteman, pp. 

SIMON, SHINAH, one of the daughters of Pennsylvania's important 
Jewish landowner and trader, Joseph Simon, married, on August 
13, 1782, Dr. Nicholas Schuyler, of a prominent New York State 
family. She seems to have converted to Christianity, yet main- 
tained close associations with her family, despite legends to the 
contrary, now proved spurious. (PAJHS, XXXI, 241 ; Rollin G. 
Osterweis, Rebecca Gratz: a Study in Charm [New York, 1935]; 
Joseph R. Rosenbloom, "And She Had Compassion: The Life and 
Times of Rebecca Gratz" [Doctoral dissertation, Hebrew Union 
College -Jewish Institute of Religion, 1957].) 

The Henry Joseph Collection 

of the Gratz Family Papers 

at the American Jewish Archives 

A Survey of the Yiddish Material 


OF the largest collections of papers relating to 
eighteenth-century American Jewry is that of the Gratz family. 
The bulk of this collection is found at the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Amer- 
ican Jewish Historical Society, and the Henry Joseph Collection 
in the possession of the American Jewish Archives. It is from the 
latter source that the material described on the following pages 
has been selected. 

Some of the material in the Henry Joseph Collection is in 
Yiddish, i. e., the Judeo-German idiom of the Jews of Holland, 
Germany, and the eastern countries of Europe. Insofar as the 
term "Yiddish" is applied to the modern vernacular of the East 
European Jews, it should be understood that the eighteenth- 
century language of the Jews represents a greatly different idiom. 
It is much closer, both in vocabulary and in structure, to the 
standard German of its time than is modern Yiddish to modern 
German. Its spelling is considerably different and, of course, 

Rabbi M. Arthur Oles is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am, Seattle, Wash. 



as is the case with other languages of the time, much less 
standardized than today. 

While it would require an exhaustive linguistic study to 
determine precise dialectal variations, certain characteristics 
can be more easily detected. The Yiddish idiom is an offshoot 
of Middle High German * and is thus easily distinguished from 
the Low German of the North, in which even Dutch may be 
included for our purpose. In fact, the community of Ashkenazic 
Jews in Hamburg was at one time called that of the Hoch- 
deutsche, as contrasted with the Sephardic group who spoke Low 
German. 2 Furthermore, while the High German character of 
Yiddish was evident, it was no longer identical with the con- 
temporary eighteenth-century German. The result of these two 
facts is that one can detect, without undue difficulty, idiomatic 
expressions essentially foreign to Yiddish, whether they are of 
High or of Low German origin. It is possible, therefore, to 
deduce from the use of such expressions the close familiarity of 
the writer with one or the other. 3 

Thus, for example, the use of the relative pronoun wo for was 
by Aaron Levy would indicate familiarity with High German 
rather than Dutch. 4 While a single usage of this kind may not 
be at all conclusive, it should be kept in mind that it is a word 
not common in the Yiddish books or letters of the time and would 
thus have hardly been acquired synthetically. Other examples 
will be pointed out where they occur. 

Of great interest are Aaron Levy's two English notes written 
in Hebrew letters one of them, the draft of a contract, and 

* Matthias Micses, Die Jiddische Sprache (Berlin, 1924), p. 203. 
a Article "Hamburg," in Judisches Lexikon (Berlin, 1928). 

3 Joshua N* Neumann, "Some Eighteenth Century American Jewish Letters," 
Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (PAJHS\ XXXIV (1937), 102-3. 

* Sidney M. Fish, Aaron Levy, Founder of Aaronsburg (New York, 1951), p. I, assumes, 
on the basis of weak evidence, that Levy came from Holland. 



the other, a short notation (Nos. 33 and 37). s In all the Amer- 
ican Yiddish letters, and in the Yiddish insertions in Englist 
letters, there are found many English words and expressions 
spelled in Hebrew characters. Levy's samples are almost unique 
in that they are completely in English. It may be suggested, 
perhaps, that these documents indicate a great linguistic 
adaptability on Levy's part, an adaptability which would rendei 
our previous point about his German provenance even more 
significant. Particularly revealing in this respect are the notations 
made for his own information (No. 37 and others occurring 
sporadically). For a man who certainly was at home in Yiddish, 
his use of English was quite significant. The Hebrew script may 
have been a device to keep those notes from prying eyes, bu1 
the English language was his own preference, strongly suggesting 
that he had good ability in that direction. 6 

A word of caution is in order here: there is a temptation to be 
influenced in the interpretation of dialectal peculiarities, eithei 
by the Yiddish of the twentieth century or by irregularities ir 
spelling, such as, for example, the substitution of d for J, b for p. 
etc., and vice versa. In studying the phonetics of eighteenth- 
century American Yiddish, we usually deal with two unknowns: 
the writer's pronunciation of words and of specific letters of the 
Hebrew alphabet. Aaron Levy's repeated use of a spelling like 
*]Vs7S irto ["my tself '] for "myself," for example, makes one 
wonder how Levy pronounced the word or how he pronounced 
the letter s. The problem can be more fully realized when one 
remembers that among some Sephardim of today the 25 sounds 
like an s, that most German Jews pronounce t like an s rathei 
than a , and that the writer of this article has heard some 
German Jews pronounce the Hebrew like the German ( = is) 

* There are a number of very short notations of the same type, not reproduced here 
6 It should be understood that this has no relation to orthography. 



Add to that the well-known confusion among Lithuanian Jews 
between s and sh, and the consistent ignoring by some of an 
initial h and the sounding of an h before an initial vowel, and one 
gets an inkling of the great variations in Hebrew and Yiddish 
pronunciation existing today. There is no reason to assume 
that there was greater uniformity in the eighteenth century. 6a 

Regarding the occasional tendency to use modern Yiddish 
as a point of reference, one must proceed with the utmost 
caution. Thus, to consider ffVtf (als) as an obsolete spelling of 
the modern TK [az] and, therefore, to include it in a list of 
"phonetic and orthographic peculiarities," as Joshua N. Neu- 
mann does, 7 is to ignore the fact that, though they may be 
etymologically related and even interchangeably used in some 
German dialects, 8 they are nevertheless two separate words. 

There seems to be a particular affinity for the use of 1 where 
one would expect p and of 1 where D would be appropriate. 
Examples are pJfcni [grank, or German krank = "ill"] in No. 24; 
TVinna [bartiglir^ English "particular"]; Bpsnosn [resbekt 
English "respect"] in No. 31 ; HOBttStt [negste, or German nachste = 
"next"] in No. 28; T^D*1X1 [barsilz = English "parcels"] in No. 
36; and many more. A hard consonant, on the other hand, is 
sometimes substituted for a soft one: WIN [unt, or German und 
"and"] in No. 9; MtnxpK [akorting = English "according"]; 
m&JK [antere, or German andere = "others"] in No. 31 ; and others. 
The occurrence of such apparent substitutions, while neither 
consistent nor very frequent, is nevertheless rather typical of the 
time, as is attested by the variety of writers who employ them. 

da See, for example, the comment on No. 41. 

7 Neumann, "Letters," p. 105. 

8 Alfred Landau, "Die Sprache der Memoiren Gluckels von Hameln," Mitteilungen 
der Gesdlschaft fur Judische Vdkskmde (MGJV), VII (1901), 47, 51; Alfred Landau 
and Bernhard Wachstein, Judische Priv at brief e aus dem Jakre 1619 (Vienna, 1911), 



It is worth mentioning that similar cases occur also in the letters 
reproduced by Alfred Landau and Bernhard Wachstein, 9 letters 
which are older by some 150 years. 

Most peculiarities in spelling 10 are found in the Hebrew 
transliterations of English words and names. This fact is not 
surprising, since no traditional spelling was available. While 
English is, of course, written phonetically in Hebrew characters, 
that rendition is improvised and fully dependent on the writer's 
own ear, accent, or predilection. Meyer Josephson, for example, 
spells the name of Barnard Jacobs as mpttff BKnw, x r whereas 
Aaron Levy spells it as ffpTO T21M (No. 28). I2 Leizer ben Leib 
(No. 12), who by his own admission could not write "Heng- 
lish," writes VDpsn ttntfl. Aaron Levy spells his own name as 
rD 1 * 1 ? pl^. * 3 Examples of this type abound and are not confined 
to names alone. 

Hebrew words and phrases are very common in Yiddish. The 
salutation in a letter is almost invariably in Hebrew, and is so 
formalized that, except where gross misspelling occurs, it has 
no significance whatsoever in determining the Hebrew scholar- 
ship of the writer. A typical salutation might be the following 
excerpt from No. 41 : K'"K pspm twin *]V?Kn rran WK "in 1 ? D^B 
VWIKDI nno*o VTI JWK fiTonm nsnasn intwrtn rsr DSOTM TM BTD 
pnrTi ttr^KDi "TW Him m& "Peace to my beloved master and 
friend, the chief, head, and magnate, the God-fearing and 
exalted Mr. Barnard, may the Lord protect him, and to his 
chaste and pious wife, a woman of valor like Esther and Abi- 

9 Landau and Wachstein, pp. 115-33. 

I No account is taken here of the general deviations from present Yiddish orthog- 
raphy, many of which are adequately discussed by Landau and Wachstein, Jiidische 
Privatbriefe, and by Landau, in MGJV. 

II Neumann, p. 197. 

Ia Interestingly, both render the initial J by 0. 

x * His signature, however, is invariably pn 13 prw. 



gail, x 4 Mrs. Richea, may she live, and peace to all that is yours. 
First of all, praise to God. Secondly . . ." Although these 
forms are not identical, they are well standardized. An interest- 
ing feature is that frequently, though not universally, there 
appears the form: j?"*? 1 T"i, "first of all, may the holy God be 
praised," and the letter proper begins with the word ITW, 
"secondly." The religious implication is clear. Sometimes, as in 
No. 3, the writer will omit the word JTW. Sometimes, as in 
No. 6, he writes nw, although he had omitted TH. Occasionally 
the salutation is omitted altogether. An example of this type is 
the series of notes to Benjamin Nathan (Nos. 17-20). The 
extremely unfriendly nature of the communications may have 
persuaded the writers to dispense with all formal courtesies. 
It is possible, however, that they were omitted for the sake of 
brevity, since these are only copies, and that the originals 
preserved the customary form. Another letter without any 
opening formalities is No. 7. Here, Meyer Josephson is obviously 
so shaken by the death of his employee that he simply forgets 
the formal niceties. 

With the signature there is usually an expression such as 
imffV pin *, "from me, ready to serve you," or *]TT rftto, 
"from me, your friend," or something similar, usually in Hebrew, 
followed by the signature. The concluding line is, thus, less 
elaborate, though hardly less standardized, than the address, 
Sometimes we find a line like: "Further, I remain your well- 
wisher who prays day and night for your long life, Rachel, 
daughter of Seligman Aaron" (No. 40; the line is here in 
Yiddish). Meyer Josephson likes to conclude his letters, after 
the signature and the postscript, with the words J7HX or 
BM 1 ?, "Adieu" or "Adieu, farewell." 15 

x * This name provides a simple rhyme in Hebrew. 
x * Nos. 3 and 6, also the letters reproduced by Neumann. 


The signature is often followed by a postscript, which may be 
almost a continuation of the letter proper (No. 31), or an 
apology of some sort (No. 40). If there exists any personal 
acquaintance at all, the postscript will contain greetings to 
any number of people. 

Besides the salutation and the concluding lines, Hebrew 
appears in the Yiddish of our letters quite extensively. Very com- 
mon are hybrid expressions like fwm Vapfc, "received"; mwn 
pw)&, "answer"; ft paaa, "believe"; and p MID, "write." 
Words like "hour," "day," "month," and "year" are usually 
rendered in Hebrew, as are "also," "therefore," and business 
terms like "cheap," "expensive," "profit," "business," etc. It 
would be idle to present here a complete list of such words and 

Another type of hybridization is the use of Hebrew words as 
though they were Germanic, and thus to conjugate or decline 
them in the Yiddish manner. This type of usage, very common in 
modern Yiddish as well, is exemplified by words such as vtaai, 
from nVna, "cadaver" (No. 41); pain, from nain, "shame" 
(No. 24); and iviicnn raff, "Sabbath expenses," the two Hebrew 
words being joined here in the German or English manner 
(No. 9). 

It would require an intensive linguistic study, thus far un- 
attempted, to establish the system by which the inclusion of 
certain Hebrew words was determined. Their use appears at 
first sight rather arbitrary, except for religious terms which are 
consistently in Hebrew. The regular appearance of certain 
Hebrew words in virtually all the letters, however, leads one to 
suspect something more than haphazard selection, 16 Another 

x6 Cf. Landau and Wachstein, p. xxxi, and elsewhere in the introduction. 
The following works also are referred to in the notes on the letters: 
Jacob Radcr Marcus, Early American Jewry, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1951-53). 
Edwin Wolf 2nd and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews of Philadelphia 
from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson (Philadelphia, 1957). 



subject for further investigation would be the non-Germanic 
and non-Hebrew elements, including Slavic, French, and 
English. They cannot be adequately discussed here, although 
something more will be said about English later on. 

It is possible at times to determine whether the writer was well 
versed in the Hebrew language, or whether such Hebrew words 
were used merely as customary elements of the Yiddish ver- 
nacular. A safe assumption is that everyone who wrote Yiddish 
letters was somewhat familiar with the Hebrew of the liturgy, 
although not necessarily fluent in it. But it is a long step from 
reading or even remembering the text of the Hebrew prayer 
book to being able to reproduce Hebrew vocabulary in its proper 
spelling, especially in the midst of a phonetically spelled Yiddish 
letter. That is why we find, for example, such words as pp^K 
(for p ^57, "therefore"); TO (for ^, "Gentile") in No. 28; 
nVsnsn, rfaasw, rftsna (for rfeai, "cadaver") in No. 41; *\xn (for 
ann, "debt") in No. 10; and many others. As isolated instances, 
such spellings may be due merely to inattention. If they occur 
consistently, we are justified in assuming that the writer's 
acquaintance with the Hebrew tongue was sketchy and did not 
go far beyond the mechanics of Jewish ritual. 

If, on the other hand, Hebrew words and phrases are used 
extensively and are usually correctly applied and spelled, we 
may take it as reliable evidence of the writer's learning in the 
field of Hebrew. Such evidence is present in the letters of Meyer 
Josephson, who makes frequent use of Hebrew in a correct and 
appropriate manner. Similarly, Mordecai Moses Mordecai and 
Leizer ben Leib evidence a thorough familiarity with good 
Hebrew. The letter of Rachel bas Seligman (No. 40) paraphrases 
a talmudic expression characterizing intoxication: m *7 vVK 
wia -jro 2K pn IT-IK pa arm, "as though he could not dis- 
tinguish between 'cursed be Hainan 5 and c blessed be Mordecai' " 
[see Tractate Megillah yb]. Also, she uses the expression 

1 06 


(for O^DnV, "spitefully 55 ) and, by including the 1 sound, makes 
here a substitution that is still very common. 

Mention has already been made of the transliteration ol 
English words. It is, of course, to be expected that English words 
and phrases will find their way into the Yiddish of American 
Jews. That is part of the inevitable process of linguistic assimila- 
tion. It is, furthermore, quite understandable that English 
predominates in those pursuits furthest removed from condi- 
tions and experiences in the old country. Thus it is that the 
American Jewish "merchant" finds himself with a very unsatis- 
factory Yiddish vocabulary of business terms, since the usual 
business activity of the Ashkenazic Jew of Europe was confined 
to petty trade. Adding to this deficiency the fact that it was in his 
business life that English was most necessary, we justly expect 
to find that the major portion of English vocabulary in the 
Yiddish letters consists of business terms. And, of course, we are 
not disappointed. Such words as "charge, 55 "account, 55 "bill, 55 
"certificate, 55 "order, 55 "exchange, 55 "suit, 55 "writ, 55 etc., abound 
in the business correspondence. In addition, we find words like 
"satisfaction, 55 "particular, 55 "iron, 55 "box, 55 "board, 55 "proof, 55 
"assembly, 55 and many more. The varieties in the spelling of 
these words have already been mentioned, and examples could 
be multiplied almost endlessly. 

The question may well be asked here why these letters were 
written in Yiddish and not in English. One might assume, con- 
sidering the fact that most of the writers had been conducting 
their business in America, that they would have a sufficient 
command of English to make use of it in their correspondence. 
Yet they preferred to use Yiddish for at least a goodly part of it. 

Without a more intensive study of the material than has been 
possible so far, a definitive answer cannot be attempted. Yet 
certain considerations present themselves, some subject to veri- 
fication by further research, some of a purely speculative nature. 



We must take into account, first of all, the possibility that for 
some people Yiddish may have been the preferred tongue in 
general, and that they availed themselves of the opportunity to 
use it wherever possible. One receives the distinct impression, 
for example, that a man like Meyer Josephson simply enjoyed 
Yiddish and used it when his correspondent also was familiar 
with it. Similarly, Mordecai Moses Mordecai, quite outspoken, 
seems to let his thoughts flow more naturally in this idiom. 
Furthermore, where a letter is addressed to someone abroad, 
Yiddish may be expected as the only language of communica- 
tion. For a note such as that of Lovi Lyons to the Parnassim 
of Mikveh Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, the writer may 
well have felt that Yiddish was the proper "Jewish 59 idiom in 
preference to English. Again, the set of congregational rules 
would traditionally be in Yiddish, though it is conceivable that 
there existed also an English draft of the same text. 

One factor that is certain to have suggested the choice of 
Yiddish is the confidential nature of some communications. At a 
time when letters were forwarded "per favor of coachmen, 
captains, and travelers who sometimes might be expected to be 
less than scrupulous, and might while away a long evening by 
perusing the correspondence entrusted to them and possibly 
extracting profitable or juicy information, it was important to 
keep certain matters from their prying eyes. Perhaps Aaron 
Levy's draft of an agreement (No. 33) was written in Hebrew 
characters for such a reason, although he frequently writes 
English in Hebrew characters. The element of secrecy is most 
pronounced in the Yiddish words or paragraphs which we find 
as part of English correspondence, some samples of which are 
also included in the listing below. 

An example is the following Yiddish passage in a long English 
business letter (No. 60): "I bought from him all wampum and 
other merchandise which I expect to sell here to Congress 

1 08 


together with the merchandise of Mr. Trent which you have 
there on hand and what is still in Maryland, whereby I hope 
we will make a good profit as no other is available in this 
country . . .," and later in the same letter: "So you will set all 
the prices at 250 or 300 percent." The convenience of Yiddish 
for conveying confidential information is even more pointedly 
demonstrated by the following (No. 70): "I hope to settle with 
Mr. Claibern in a few days, as he is to be here next week. How- 
ever, I shall not wait until he comes here, I shall go to his home, and ij 
he is not there I shall go wherever he is . . ." The first sentence here 
was in English in the original text; the italicized words were 
originally in Yiddish. 

Aside from the purpose of secrecy, there is also the convenience 
of Yiddish (or Hebrew) in spelling the names of old-country 
people who were not ordinarily known by names current in 
English-speaking countries. A letter such as No. 43 demonstrates 
this fact in that Barnard Gratz consistently renders into English 
the names of people living in England or America, and uses 
Yiddish or Hebrew for the names of those living on the European 

Almost all the English letters with Yiddish insertions perused 
so far are from Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, or vice versa. 
It is quite revealing of the Gratz brothers' level of Hebrew 
knowledge that they repeatedly use biblical or talmudic quota- 
tions appropriate to the subject discussed, as, for example. 
Psalm 55:23 in No. 50, Psalm 32:10 in No. 51, and Talmud 
Berakot Gob in No. 52. Their Hebrew spelling in general is 
almost flawless, indicating that they received a thorough 
grounding in the language of their youth and retained it 
throughout their later years. 

The following analyses of the Yiddish letters (Nos. 142) and 
the subsequent list of English letters containing some Yiddish 
(Nos. 43-84), in the Henry Joseph Collection at the American 



Jewish Archives, comprise only the papers studied so far, and 
represent approximately one third to one half of this type of 
material contained in the Collection. 

[The compiler's notes, concerning each Tiddish letter, are bracketed and 
printed in smaller type, following the content analysis of each letter.] 


1, Barnard Gratz to his brother Hayim 

Philadelphia, 28 lyar, 5515 (May 9, 1755). 

Barnard Gratz has been in Philadelphia for a year with a great 
merchant, the same for whom his relative Koppel had worked. Barnard 
has acquired a partner now and also intends to open his own shop. 
He has heard that brother Michael left for the East Indies with a 
"good boss," who will teach him the business. 

[Barnard arrived in Philadelphia in February, 1754, and was employed by David 
Franks, referred to above as the "great merchant." Koppel is Jacob Henry, Bar- 
nard's cousin, who had previously worked for Franks. Michael Grate's East Indies 
excursion ended after three and a half years, as he returned to London late in 
1758 or early in 1759. Barnard did not become commercially independent until 
*759- (See Wolf and Whiternan, pp. 36 ff.) Other names mentioned: Solomon 
(Solomon Henry); Liebcrman both are relatives in London; Jonathan, Bar- 
nard's brother.] 

2. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz 

Philadelphia, June 28, 1 759. 

Barnard welcomes Michael to New York and gives him directions for 
coming to Philadelphia. If Michael needs money, he should ask Jacob 
Franks for it. 

[Other names mentioned: Samuel Judah; David Franks,] 

On the same page: 

Jacob Bluch to Michael Gratz 

Jacob Bluch greets Michael on the latter's arrival. 

[Jacob Bluch is probably to be identified with Jacob Henry, the "Koppel" 
mentioned in No. i. The names Henry and Bluch both appear in that branch of 



the family, as evidenced by the power of attorney issued in connection with th 
estate of Joseph Henry Bluch (No. 34), who was known in America also as Joseph 
Henry. (See Wolf and Whiteman, p. 182 and notes.)] 

3. Meyer Josephson to Michael Gratz 

Reading [Pa.], 17 Tebet, 5520 (January 6, 1760). 

A business letter. In a postscript Josephson asks Gratz to send him the 
velvet cloak which he intended for his bride and had left with Gratz, 

[The first evidence of Meyer Josephson's marriage appears in 1762. (See Wolf and 
Whiteman, p. 392; Neumann, "Letters," in PAJHS, XXXIV, 77.) At the time oi 
the writing of this letter he was apparently engaged.] 

4. Mordecai Moses Mordecai to Michael Gratz 

Lancaster [Pa.], May 4, 1761. 

Mordecai expects to be a father in seven months. Mr. Josephson writes 
that he followed this example, too. Mordecai gives this graphic descrip- 
tion of his wife's condition: "My wife sends a thousand regards and 
asks you to forgive her, because she cannot write herself as she is, 
unfortunately, not well. She vomits in the morning and eats no meat 
or fowl at all. Alas, she is getting very thin, but I hope she will fill out 

5. Mordecai Moses Mordecai to Barnard and Michael Gratz 

Lancaster, Hoshanw Rabba, 1761 (October 19, 1761). 

The letter contains references to some business dealings with various 
people. Any suspicions about Clara are unfounded, "Mr, Simon told 
me that everything Ettings said is a lie, and that she would be a good 
match for him, and an advantage to his creditors." 

[It is not clear who Clara is and for whom she is intended. Other names mentioned: 
Meyer Hart; Isaac Adolphus; Mr. Bush; Berchc (Bcracha?); Miss Abigail Lazarc; 
Meyer Zupbeiler (?),] 

6. Meyer Josephson to Michael Gratz 

Reading, 6 Elul, 5522 (August 25, 1762). 

A business letter. In a postscript Josephson asks Gratz to order kosher 
cheese for him from London. 



7. Meyer Josephson to Michael Gratz 

i Tammuz, 5524 (July i, 1764). 

Josephson regrets to inform Gratz that Joseph ben Benjamin died 
yesterday. He asks Gratz to write to New York for a trustworthy man 
who is also a shohet [ritual slaughterer] . Josephson is willing to pay 
20 per year. He would also consider Haim Myers, who had served 
someone else as shohet. 

[This letter lacks the usual flowery salutation, evidently because as the general 
tone of the letter indicates Josephson was too much upset by his employee's 

8. Meyer Josephson to Barnard and Michael Gratz 

Reading, ir Marheshvan, 5525 (November 6, 1764). 

Josephson is sending the Gratzes one quarter of a deer that he slaugh- 
tered that morning. They may share it with Mr. Bush. "If you were 
to consume it together, make a meal of it and drink a glass of good 
wine with it, and were also to parade my health on the table, I would 
be very pleased." He asks them not to tell others of the deer, as he 
fears they would be offended. 

The remainder of the letter is taken up with business. 

9. Meyer Josephson to Barnard and Michael Gratz 

"The day after the Holiday, 5528" [October 17, 1767, or April 10, 

1768, or May 24, 1768]. 

This is a business letter referring to dealings with Nachman and with 
John Patton(P). 

[Josephson seems to be pressed for money, as he writes: "... because I would like 
to close his account, and it also would be good for Sabbath expenses." For Nachman 
ben Moses, see No. 22 and also Neumann, "Letters," in PAJHS, XXXIV, 78, 95- 
96. The three dates suggested above are computed on the possibility that the 
"Holiday" was either Sukkot, Passover, or Shabuot, 5528.] 

10. Abraham ben Moses to Meyer . . . 

The evening of Sabbath Bereshith, 5528 (October 17, 1767). 

Abraham complains that a writ has been issued for his debts. He 
considers himself trustworthy enough to pay without the writ. 



1 1 . Henry Marks to brother Zanvil 

Philadelphia, i Heshvan, 5529 (October 12, 1768 

Henry requests his brother to advise him of the exact date of t 
mother's death. He has not seen or heard from Zanvil in twenty- 
years and asks him to write. Zanvil should also take care of t 
sister Leah and find her a good husband. 

[The death of Henry Marks's mother is mentioned also in an English letter 
Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, dated London, August 10, 1769. The date o 
death is given there as Sivan, 1769. A possible explanation for the discrepant 
the dates lies in the fact that Henry Marks may have made a mistake in the He 
year, writing only one month after the New Year. The proper date then wou] 
553O November I, 1769. Other names mentioned: Jonathan; Solomon Hen 

12. Leizer ben Leib to Michael Gratz 

Lancaster, 3 Ab, 5529 (August 6, 1769 

Leizer writes that he and Barnard Jacobs are carefully examining 
Torah scroll with the aid of the very best European tikkunS jo/ 
[the plural form of tihkun sqferim, the model which the scribe, or s 
uses in copying the Torah] , and have already found five words miss 
God knows how many more they will find. Leizer asks Gratz to rr 
apologies on his behalf for his failure to write to Gratz's "dearest 01 
She knows that he cannot write English. He also wishes Gratz 
merry Tisha b'Ab" (fast of the ninth day of Ab). 

[The wish for a "merry Tisha b'AB" is curious, as that day is, in the Jewish tradi 
one of fasting and mourning, commemorating the destruction of the Temp] 
Jerusalem in the year 70 G. E. Among some mystics, however, Tisha b'Ab is < 
brated as a rather joyous day, despite the fasting, because it is to be the birtl 
of the Messiah. The writer of the letter may have been an adherent of the m 
doctrines currently prevalent in Eastern Europe. 

In a letter sent by Barnard Gratz from London on October 31, 1769, tc 
brother Michael, and in other letters, mention is made of a Torah scroll w 
Barnard had been asked to purchase in London. This would indicate that 
scroll being examined by Leizer either was borrowed, ultimately to be returne 
its owner, or that it was in such bad shape that it was beyond repair. It should 
be noted that the Distillery List (No. 36) contains an item of parchment fox 

Leizer ben Leib, also Leizer ben Leib Uri (No. 15), is probably identical 
Eleazar Lyons (17291816), a Dutch Jew who died in Philadelphia. Other ns 
mentioned; Mr. (Mathias) Bush; Miss Bella; Mrs. Bush; Mr. Solomon; 
Marks; Levi Solomon; Henry Marks.] 


1 3 . Henry Marks to Jonathan [last name unknown] 

Philadelphia, November 7, 1769. 

Jonathan is requested to hold, as a dowry for Henry's sister Leah, the 
money which Jonathan's brother Solomon sent him. He is also to 
retain the six guineas which Barnard sent on Henry's brother Lipman's 

Lipman is otherwise known as Levi Marks. 

[Other names mentioned: Jonathan Gratz; Frumat (the writer's relative); Feivel 
and family.] 

14. Joseph Simon to Michael Gratz 

Lancaster, 30 Tishri, 5531 (October 19, 1770). 

Simon has received Mrs. Mordecai's letter from Baltimore and has 
strictly examined the maid. He has also had her before the justice. 
Apparently she is completely innocent. The accusations were made 
probably because Mrs. Mordecai could not get along with her and 
even came to blows with her. 

[This letter is signed Joseph Simon, but both the text and the signature are in the 
handwriting of Leizer ben Leib, who apparently served as Simon's secretary. 
Leizer adds a postscript of his own in which he sends regards to Miss Relah (Rachel 
Simon?), Miss Beila.] 

15. Leizer ben Leib Uri to Isaac Wolf 

Lancaster, 8 Ab, 5532 (August 7, 1772). 

A short business letter. "One starts small, and by degrees one goes 

[Reference is made to Michael Hart as a "stutterer." See J, Trachtenberg, Consider 
the Tears, p. 76.] 

A series of letters written consecutively on two pages; each is marked 
"true copy," All are in Yiddish and undated, except No. 16. 

1 6. Joseph Simon to Elietzer Lyon (in English) 

November n, 1773. 

An order to seize the goods and chattels of Benjamin Nathan for unpaid 
rent in Heidelberg [Pa.] . 



1 7. Barnard Jacobs to Benjamin Nathan 


Mr. Simon wants to take an inventory of Nathan's merchandise, and 
Nathan is requested to come immediately and bring the keys of shop 
and trunks. 

1 8. Joseph Simon to Benjamin Nathan 


Simon did not find the large silver spoon, teaspoons, cream jug, the 
large bed quilt, and many other things. He is sending Nathan a tallith 
[prayer shawl], tefillin [phylacteries], prayer book, shehitah [ritual 
animal-slaughtering] knife, and grindstone, so that Nathan can be a 
good Jew, but Simon is keeping the rest of the books as security for 
the charity money. 


Unsigned, undated. 

The writer was without tefillin for fifteen days as the sheriff had 
packed everything away. He has neither pot, nor spoon, nor bed. 

20. Joseph Simon to Benjamin Nathan. 


Simon has ascertained that all the bad things said about Nathan are 
true. Nathan refuses to give his books to Barnard (Jacobs). Simon will 
sell Nathan's and Nathan's wife's clothes. Nathan is to answer within 
a half hour or the bed will be sold. 

2 1 . Tobias ... to Barnard and Michael Gratz 

Rhode Island, 5 Kislev, 5534 (November 20, 1773). 

The writer thanks the Gratzes for their letters of recommendation. He 
was asked to preach in the synagogue because of them. He will write 
from all the places which he visits. 

[This is Rabbi Tobiah ben Judah, a Polish rabbi and cabalist, who visited the 
mainland colonies and the West Indies in 1773. See F. B. Dexter, The Literary Diary 
of Ezra Stiles, I, 421-^23; II, 174; III, 78; S. Broches, Jews in New England, II> 



22. Nachman ben Moses to Michael Gratz 

Berne [Pa.], February 26, 1779. 

The children of Meyer Josephson are with Mrs. Josephson at Chestnut 
Hill, Pa. Perhaps Michael can persuade her to part with the children, 
so that he can get them out of Gentile hands and among Jews. 

[This letter shows that Meyer Josephson's second wife was a Gentile woman. His 
first wife, whom he married no later than 1762 (see No. 3), was definitely Jewish, 
and her children too old by 1779 to be referred to in the above manner. So far, no 
trace has been found of this second marriage in other sources.] 

23. Henry Marks to Barnard Gratz 

New York, April 28, 1 786. 

Marks complains about his business difficulties and also about his 
children. He hopes that his son Solomon will behave better. 

[Solomon Marks, 1766-1824, was, in later life, a Richmond merchant. Another 
name mentioned: Mrs. Wister, with whom Marks had some business dispute.] 

24. Henry Marks to Barnard Gratz 

May 1 6, 1786. 

Marks hopes to do some business in Irish Town. He cannot earn 
anything. He has heard that his son Solomon was sick in Easton. He 
asks Gratz to do for him what he can. 

He has heard a rumor that David Franks is in the King's Bench for 

[Other names mentioned: Rachel Marks and Haim Marks, Henry Marks's children; 
Mrs. Wister.] 

25. Henry Marks to Barnard Gratz 

New York, 8 Marheshvan, 5547 (October 30, 1786). 

Marks was sick in Rhode Island and has been unable to do any busi- 
ness. He asks Gratz to find a job for his son Haim. 

[Other names mentioned: Mrs. Wister; Wes Fulton (?) of Virginia.] 

26. Benjamin ben Wolf of London to Michael Gratz 

Lancaster [Pa.], 12 Adar, 5547 (March 2, 1787), 

The writer requests a personal appointment. 


27. Heiman Heilbron to Mr. Phillips 

New York, November 25, 1 787. 

The writer requests that some papers be transmitted to Moses Hom- 
berg, who will send them on to Holland. Heilbron states that he is 
related to Homberg, 

28. Aaron Levy to Michael Gratz. 

Northumberland [Pa.], May n, 1788. 

Levy writes that Mr. Simon is here and will not return home until the 
end of next week. He asks Gratz to advise his family and to inform 
Barnard Jacobs that if Levy's brother should come to board with him, 
Levy will not pay one penny for him. 

[This letter mentions a brother of Aaron Levy, not otherwise known, with whom 
Levy apparently was not on very good terms. Levy's Hebrew spelling in this letter 
is very poor; e. g., nai"m raNirfr for WN ainV; j'p^N for p hy. His Yiddish spelling 
also is unusual for the time, particularly in the use of n for the almost universally 
used D. There are certain idiomatic expressions which seem to indicate that Levy 
either grew up in Germany or spent enough time there to become accustomed to 
the German idiom. Examples are an JOtnEW is "j'N Nil Try^a H, "The glasses that 
I promised"; 13 p 03N3, "completely." This, however, is not conclusive. 

Other names mentioned: Mr. Hosterman; Hugh Ogden, umbrella maker in 
Sourkraut Alley.] 

29. Suesskind ben Kosmann Hollander to the Parnassim of Phila- 

[The] Hague, Holland, 5 Tammuz, 5549 (June 129, 1789). 

Suesskind's father, Kosmann Hollander, was in the West Indies and 
has not been heard from for twelve years. He asks the parnassim to 
inform him, if they can, whether his father is alive or dead, and 
whether he left any money. 

[The letter is addressed to "Phidelphi in the West Inies." The outside address is 
written in the symmetrical order common to many seventeenth- and eighteenth- 
century letters: 




30. Mordecai Moses Mordecai to Michael Gratz 

Baltimore, June 13, 1790. 

Mordecai recommends a certain Meir ben Koppel (Jacob) who has 
been working near Baltimore for years and is a worthy man. He is on 
the way to New York in order to bring his wife and daughters into a 
Jewish environment. Mordecai asks Gratz to see to it that Meir is 
helped along. "I have done what was my duty." 

Also, as Mordecai intends to open a store, he asks Gratz to persuade 
brother-in-law Myer to help him out. Not much money will be 

[The Meir ben Koppel mentioned obviously had a Gentile wife. Mordecai's "duty" 
seems to have been to convert her and her daughters. He is known to have per- 
formed such acts on his own. (See Wolf and Whiteman, pp. 128 flf.) Myer is Myer 
Hart. (See Wolf and Whiteman, p. 417.).] 

31. Cohen and Isaacs to Mr. Gratz 

Richmond, November 25, 1791. 

A business letter dealing with the settlement of some bills. The signa- 
ture is in English. 

[Cohen and Isaacs was a partnership of Jacob I. Cohen and Isaiah Isaacs. (See 
Marcus, Early American Jewry, II, 182 ff.).] 

32. Yehiel ben Naphtali of Werdorf (?) to Barnard Gratz 

Since a Gentile wants to buy the "nigger wench," Gratz is requested 
to send her with Sarah, NichePs (?) wife, and to send along the 

[Barnard Gratz is here addressed as tt'inya (Barnet), rather than the usual "lyn (Baer) 
or "Dew (Issachar). Mention is made of Solomon Lyon (Lyons).] 

33. A draft of an agreement, dated January, 1793, for Robert Morris 
and Walter Stewart to buy some lands from Aaron Levy. 

It is in English, written in Levy's handwriting in cursive Hebrew , 
characters. The style is at times somewhat elliptic: ". . .which they 
agree to take out warrants and pay for the same . . . ." 

Among other peculiarities, it is interesting to note that Levy often 



uses the Hebrew s for the English s: v}hyx "B for "myself." The 
same is true about No. 37. 

[For similar agreements between Levy, Morris, and Stewart, in English script, 
see Sidney M. Fish, Aaron Levy, pp. 72 ff.] 

34. Jonas Hirschel Bluch to Barnard and Michael Gratz 

Langendorf [Silesia], April 6, 1796. 

Bluch is sending to the Gratzes a copy of the power of attorney to sell 
the land of his late son Joseph Henry. He asks the Gratzes to send him 
the money when they have sold the land. 

As Bluch does not know whether his last letter reached the Gratzes, 
he is sending a copy of it. 

[The copy contains the statement that the Gratz brothers notified Bluch on Novem- 
ber I, 1795, of the death of his son. According to the official statement enclosed, the 
death occurred on May 10, 1793. Note the delay! 

There is appended a German copy of a power of attorney, authorizing the 
Gratz brothers to dispose of the lands of Joseph Henry Bluch in the vicinity of 
Winchester, Va. There are additional Bluch papers in the American Jewish 

35. Barnard Gratz to Isaac . . . 


Gratz recalls the favors which he had from Isaac when he was in 
Amsterdam. He has now been in Philadelphia for nine years and in 
business for two years. 

He expects to go to Amsterdam, and inquires about business con- 
ditions, etc. 

[Barnard Gratz arrived in Philadelphia in January, 1754 (see Wolf and White- 
man, p. 36), which would date this letter in late 1762 or early 1763. According to 
Wolf and Whiteman (p. 40), he opened his own business in 1759. The two years 
mentioned in this letter would thus be a very general approximation. It is possible, 
however, that Barnard here is referring to a later and more specialized phase. 
(See above, No. i.)J 

36. A list of materials and supplies to be bought for a "Distill House'* 
in Philadelphia. Listed are such items as tubs, barrels, cedar boards, 
sail cloth, etc., and a number of different spices. 

There is appended a note in English, signed by Joseph Solomon, 


asking the unnamed addressee to deliver a message to Mr. [Mathias] 

[The date of this document may be about the year 1765, as there is extant in the 
McAllister Collection at The Library Company of Philadelphia another letter of 
similar content dated 1765. Mr. Bush may be assumed to be Mathias Bush, the 
only person by that name known at that time. His sons were not then old enough to 
have a message addressed to them. Joseph Solomon was a shohet in Lancaster in 
the employ of Joseph Simon. See also the note to No. 12.] 

37. An undated note by Aaron Levy in English, written in cursive 
Hebrew characters: 

"Memorandum of stores sent by Jacob Anderson to the Big Island. 55 
"David [AJllison Martins Lake is about a mine (a mile?) Western of 

said Allison, the south west corner is a small oak or sapling. Inquire 

of Allison for Daniel Sanderlin (?). Inquire for Michael Miniver, ask 

for the white oak corner.' 5 

On the reverse side, in English, is a list of items taken from David 


38. Lovi Lyons to the Parnassim of Philadelphia. 


Lyons asks to be excused from being called as Hatan Bereshith ["Bride- 
groom of Genesis," the person given the honor of beginning the annual 
cycle of the Pentateuchal readings in the synagogue] this year, because 
he may be out of town. 

[The signature appears in Hebrew as Yehudah Leib'n ben Seligman, and in English 
as Lovi Lyons. The writer must have been a person of some prominence to be 
given the honor of Hatan Bereshith. 

A. J. Lyons appears in the records of Mikveh Israel Congregation in 1783.] 

39. Meir to his father Hirsch and his mother Sarah. 


A short note telling his parents that he is busy with his studies. It is 
the work of a child. 

40. Rachel bas Seligman to Barnard Gratz. 


Rachel asks Gratz to come to her house on the morrow because "he" 


is lying in a drunken stupor. He has brought the Irish woman back 
into the house. 

["He" is referred to as a relative of the writer. Neither can be further identified. 
This is an uncommon example of a Yiddish letter in cursive script written by a 
woman. It is very literate, both in style and in orthography.] 

41. Barnard Jacobs to Barnard Gratz. 


This letter was written in jail and concerns a business dispute with 
Joseph Simon and the "German thief Jacob," who is not further 
identified. Jacobs, in this three-page letter, asks Gratz to send him the 
receipts of Enrich (Heinrich?) and Wurm, and repeatedly bemoans 
his sad fate and invokes God's help. 

[It is interesting to note that Jacobs never writes the initial h of any word, e. g., 
ab for hab) elf en for heljen, except hoffen, "hope." Also, he uses a large number of 
English words, such as riB'syi, "receipt**; itu, "nor"; mx'a, "sued"; rwyDwa, 
"summoned"; msiD, "suffer"; B!?KD, "fault"; hyv, "jail"; and many more. His 
spelling of Hebrew words is very poor; e. g., nynjP for ny'T, 333 for 3M, Q^lN for 
D^IJ?, D'JNDmo for maom, etc. 

Other names mentioned: Mr, Bush, Mr. Franks, "Benjamin Levy.] 

42. A draft of a congregational constitution. It is presumably that of 
Mikveh Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, and defines the manner 
of election and the duties of the Governing Board of Five (Junta?), the 
Parnass, their qualifications and duties, and the rights of members and 

[The congregation resolved to draw up a constitution in 1782. This may be one of 
the drafts of that year.] 


43. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, August 10, 1769 

44. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, September 7, 1 769 

45. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, October 31, 1769 

46. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, November 16, 1769 

47. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, December 6, 1769 

48. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, January 12, 1770 

49. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, March 19, 1770 



50. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, May 17, 1770 

51. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, June 26, 1770 

52. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, July 20, 1770 

53. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, London, August 24, 1770 

54. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Lancaster, January 13, 1772 

55. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Carlisle, December 3, 1772 

56. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, New York, April u, 1774 

57. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, January 10, 1775 

58. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Pittsburgh, November 14, 1775 

59. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Pittsburgh, November 15, 1775 

60. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, January 21, 1776 

61. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, January 28, 1776 

62. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Lancaster, April 9, 1776 

63. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, April 12, 1776 

64. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, May 16, 1776 

65. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Lancaster, May 31, 1778 

66. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Philadelphia, July 27, 1778 

67. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Philadelphia, January 20, 1779 

68. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Williamsburg, March 3, 1 780 

69. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Petersburg, April 17, 1780 

70. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, June 27, 1780 

71. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, July 5, 1780 

72. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, July 18, 1781 

73. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, December 18, 1785 

74. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, January 30, 1 786 

75. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, February 6, 1786 

76. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, February 20, 1786 

77. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Richmond, March 14, 1786 

78. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, Lancaster, November 23, 1787 

79. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Cooperstown [N, Y.], Septenv 

ber 19, 1792 

80. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, New York [month not given], 

'3> '793 

81. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, Philadelphia, June 28, 1794 

82. Michael Gratz to Barnard Gratz, undated 

83. Joseph Simon to Michael Gratz, undated 

84. Barnard Gratz to Michael Gratz, undated 


Hebrew Grammar and Textbook Writing 

in Early Nineteenth-Century America 



JL/URiNG the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
Hebraic scholarship in America seems to have been on a fairly 
high level. It was the exclusive province of Christians. The 
number of Jews in America at that time was very small, and 
there were few, if any, Hebrew scholars among them. Some 
members of the New England Mather family, we are told, were 
well-versed in Hebraic sources of Jewish literature, biblical as 
well as rabbinic and medieval, and some are even reported to 
have had a fine mastery of Hebrew conversation. x Similarly, 
Ezra Stiles, president of Yale College, "was a thorough master 
of the Hebrew language, which he wrote and spoke with 
fluency and clarity. . . ." a 

Dr. William Chomsky is Chairman of the Faculty at Gratz College in Philadelphia, 

1 Cf. D. de Sola Pool, "Hebrew Learning among the Puritans of New England 
Prior to 1700," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, XX (1911), 
55 f. and 67 f.; also A. I. Katsh, Hebrew in American Higher Education (New York, 
1941), 16, n. 41. 

a See the article by Charles Seymour, president of Yale University, published in 
Hadoar, XXI, No. 12 (Jan. 17, 1941), 189. Incidentally, it may be interesting to 
note that Stiles was close to forty years old when he began to study Hebrew. He 
served then as minister in Newport, R. I., where a relatively dynamic Jewish 
community was then flourishing. One of Stiles's intimate friends was Isaac Touro, 
who had studied at the rabbinical seminary in Amsterdam, had come to America 
in 1760, and was made minister and reader of the Sephardic synagogue, Jeshuat 



An entirely different picture of Hebraic scholarship in Amer- 
ica during the early nineteenth century is depicted by Moses 
Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological 
Seminary at Andover. When he assumed his teaching post in 
Andover, Mass., in 1810, Stuart testifies, he knew hardly more 
than the Hebrew alphabet and could scarcely translate the first 
five or six chapters in Genesis and a few psalms with the aid of 
Parkhurst's dictionary. According to Stuart, there was hardly 
anybody in America at that time (1810) unless one chanced 
to study Hebrew abroad who possessed the requisite knowl- 
edge for instruction in Hebrew. 3 Even if we assume, with George 
Foot Moore, that this is an exaggerated statement, and that it 
merely depicts conditions in New England and not those in 
New York and Pennsylvania, it must be admitted that the status 
of Hebrew studies during the early part of the nineteenth 
century was not on a very high level. Witness the attempts, 
during that early period, at the preparation of Hebrew chres- 
tomathies and grammars for the study of Hebrew. 


Among the earliest Hebrew chrestomathies of the nineteenth 
century is one by John Smith, A.M., Professor of the Learned 
Languages, at Dartmouth College. This text was published in 
1810 under the title, A Hebrew Grammar Without Points: Designed 
to Facilitate the Study of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, in the 
Original. 4 

Israel, in 1763, when that synagogue was opened. Stiles may have been taught 
Hebrew, or have been helped in his Hebraic studies, by Touro. 

3 See George Foot Moore, &itschrift fur die Alttestamcntliche Wissenschaft, VIII 
(1888), 18. 

* Ibid., 12; Moore refers to an earlier text by John Smith, under the same title, 
published in 1803. 



Smith's text was rather meagre and insignificant, but a more 
pretentious text, entitled An Easy Introduction to the Knowledge 
oj the Hebrew Language, Without the Points, by James P. Wilson, 
D.D., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 
was published two years later. In the introduction to this text, 
where he discusses the alphabet, the author rationalizes the 
novel approach of teaching Hebrew by dispensing with vowels. 
Hebrew, he maintains, is a dead language. The present vowels, 
he argues, do not record the original pronunciation of ancient 
Hebrew. The study of the vowels is, accordingly, both misleading 
and an unnecessary encumbrance for the student. Why, then, 
not dispense with them altogether? 

In support of his approach he adduces the fact that our 
pronunciation of biblical names differs from that recorded in the 
Masoretic text. As additional evidence, he cites the fact that no 
vocalization is used in the scrolls read in the synagogues. He 
concludes, therefore, that since the vowels are "a late invention, 
which seems to be the fact, we might with equal propriety con- 
sider the traditions and talmudical writings of the Jews to be of 
divine authority, and receive for doctrines the commandments 
of men.' 5 

In consonance with this theory, the author first presents the 
alphabet arranged in a column. Beside each letter is given the 
name of the letter, as well as its value, in accordance with 
different schools and individual grammarians. This is followed 
by selections from the books of Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah, and Job. 
The texts are, of course, devoid of vowel-points, and the only 
vowel-indications recognized by the author are the weak letters 
r'^iriN, which were adopted as vowel letters, in their old Hebrew 
forms, in the Greek alphabet, and subsequently in the alphabets 
of other Indo-European languages. 

What about the letters neither followed by any of these vowel- 
indications nor placed at the end of a word? How are they to be 


sounded? In such instances, the author suggests, "the beginner 
is advised to supply as he is reading, a short vowel of any kind, 
suppose e, after every consonant." In this manner the language 

may not only be more easily and uniformly read, and sound more 
agreeable to the ear, but be much more intelligible to the hearer, by 
distinguishing the numerous prefixes from the roots. 

Wilson's text is divided into three parts. The first part con- 
sists of selections from Genesis and Isaiah, translated into English. 
Each Hebrew word is annotated and parsed. The second part 
consists of selected chapters from Job, likewise supplied with an 
English translation and notations furnishing the roots of the 
words, but without the word-for-word parsing. The third part 
comprises the Hebrew Grammar of John Parkhurst, to which 
the author refers in his parsing of the words in the first part of 
the text, and in which he claims to have "made as few altera- 
tions as were consistent with the plan adopted." 

Since the vowels, except those indicated by vowel-letters, are 
indistinguishable from one another in the author's system, he 
has no difficulty in "simplifying" his grammar. The pfel and 
pu'al conjugations are completely discarded. The form DBfn& 
(Gen. 1:2), he regards as hipffil, while isp (ibid. 2:16), nrjpjj 
(ibid. 2:23), nanpBrn (ibid. 3:7), and KingJ (ibid. 3:10), are all 
regarded as forms of the kaL His lexical etymologies are likewise 
confused. To mention only a few of them, px, "earth," is a noun 
compounded of K formative and *p, a verb, "to break to pieces" 
(p. 10); Mtf, "seven," is derived from Mfc, "satisfy" (p. 144); 
and JTa, "house," stems perhaps from W, "a hollow vessel," and 
both from HI, "a hollow," or rather M, the same (p. 145). 

The whole book abounds in such grammatical and etymolog- 
ical fallacies. Stuart's strictures regarding the state of Hebraic 
studies during the first decade of the nineteenth century seem 
hardly exaggerated in the light of Wilson's performance. Wil- 



son's book was, after all, an outstanding Hebrew text during 
that period, and the author boasts in the Preface that, after 
"having been taught originally with the points, I am self- 
taught in the Hebrew without the points." 

Incidentally, the practice of teaching Hebrew without vowel- 
points was quite in vogue among Christian students of Hebrew 
during the eighteenth, and probably the early part of the nine- 
teenth, century. This practice was the outgrowth of the contro- 
versy among both Jewish and Christian scholars as to the antiq- 
uity and divine authority of the vowel-signs. The controversy 
reached its high watermark in the sixteenth century between the 
Jewish scholars Elijah Levita and Azariah dei Rossi, and in the 
seventeenth century between the Christian scholars John Bux- 
torf and Louis Capellus. Capellus accepted Levita's view, 
denying early antiquity to the vowel-signs, while Buxtorf, 
relying on dei Rossi's arguments, credited the vowel-signs with 
antiquity and divine authority. 

Even as late as 1824, Martin Ruter, D.D., published a text 
entitled, An Easy Entrance into the Sacred Language; being a Concise 
Hebrew Grammar Without Points. In the Preface the author asserts 

That the points and accents form no constituent part of the language, 
that the language can be studied successfully without them, and with 
more ease to the learner, cannot rationally be denied. Some of the 
best Hebrew scholars became such without the aid of the points; and 
some who studied and used them have laid them aside, preferring the 
language in its original form. 

The vowel-points were, according to this author, nothing 
more than a sort of commentary on the original text by the 
"Mazorites" (Masoretes). "But as they were added by Jewish 
teachers, without divine authority, they can have no more 
weight than any other comment." 

Little wonder, therefore, that when these grammarians at- 



tempted to transliterate the Hebrew texts of the Bible, their 
readings were so farfetched and wide of the mark as to be hardly 
recognizable. Moses Stuart was undoubtedly right in his denun- 
ciation of this practice. In the Introduction to his Hebrew 
Grammar > published in 1821, he declared that 

there never was, and it may be doubted whether there ever will be, 
a thorough Hebrew scholar who is ignorant of the vowel-system. The 
Hebrew language, destitute of vowels, is "without form," and is but 
little removed from being "void" and having chaotic "darkness upon 
it." Seven years' experience of the writer, in teaching Hebrew without 
the vowel-points, has brought him fully to this conclusion. 


At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Jews in the 
United States constituted a small, insignificant minority. In the 
year 1 790, out of a total population of less than four million in 
the United States, the Jewish group numbered about 2,500, 
and, according to some authorities, the number was not much 
more than some 1,500. Most of the Jews lived in Philadelphia 
and New York, while a good many were completely cut off from 
any Jewish contacts. 

Among the new arrivals at the beginning of the century was 
Emanuel Nunes Carvalho, who was born and educated in 
England and came to New York in 1806. There he taught 
Hebrew and other languages privately, and was later (1808-1 1) 
engaged as teacher in the Polonies Talmud Torah, an institution 
which subsequently became part of the public school system. In 
1811, he went to Charleston, S. G., where, in addition to his 
official duties as minister of Congregation Beth Elohim, he 
taught Hebrew and Spanish in the school of ancient and modern 
languages which he himself established. In 1814 he assumed the 
ministry of Mikveh Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, where 



he published a Hebrew text (1815), entitled matf pffV 
A Key to the Hebrew Tongue Containing the 3"N Alphabet with the 
Various Vowel Points: accompanied by easy lessons of one and more 
syllables, with the English translation affixed thereto, so that the learner 
may understand as he proceeds. To which is added An Introduction to the 
Hebrew Grammar with points; Intended to facilitate the scholar in 
his progress to the attainment of the primitive languages. 

The book was designed by Carvalho, as "professor of Hebrew 
and Chaldee languages, ... for the use of his pupils.' 9 He was 
also engaged, according to Dr. Bertram W. Korn, s in completing 
a Hebrew-English dictionary when he died in 1817. 

Garvalho's Hebrew text is a primitive attempt at the teaching 
of Hebrew grammar. Judged by modern standards, this work is 
pathetically inadequate and leaves much to be desired, both in 
regard to content and to method. It is difficult to conceive how 
any of the pupils could acquire from such a text either an 
understanding of grammar or a mastery of Hebrew. 

The book is divided into two parts, one containing language 
lessons and the other the grammar. The language lessons consist 
of isolated words and their translation. In the first ten lessons, 
the words are arranged in an alphabetical order, while in the 
eleventh lesson, the alphabetical order is reversed (pntzm). The 
first of these lessons comprises only monosyllables, including also 
an original coinage, tPK, "fear," on the basis of the biblical nnn<, 
as well as such unusual and obscure words as ]T, which the 
author translates, after Menahem ben Saruk, as "food." 

In the eighth lesson, nouns in the singular, with pronominal 
suffixes in the first person singular, are given, while the ninth 
contains nouns in the plural, with pronominal suffixes in the 
first person plural. The numerals are given in the twelfth lesson. 

s See the Introduction to Carvalho's Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West, 
edited by Bertram W. Korn (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1954), p. 19. 



Beginning with lesson 15, the vocabularies are generally un- 
vocalized, and in lessons 28 to 40, biblical phrases, mostly 
unvocalized, are presented with translations. 

The author evidently manifests some sense of method, but he 
gives little attention, in selecting his vocabulary, to the value of 
the words in terms of biblical frequency or even of biblical 
occurrence. Included in this vocabulary are a good many tal- 
mudic and medieval words, as well as original coinages, for some 
of which no basis can be found. Thus in lessons 19 and 24, we 
find such new coinages as ]S*in, "responder," from the talmudic 
verb "pn, "answered" or "settled a difficulty"; mwo, "pins," 
from TOO, "support"; ontfj?, "buttons," from itfp, "bind"; and 
H1p3, "jelly," from rnp?, "ice"; but also TO", "ribband," or 
"ribbon," the origin of which cannot be found by this writer. 

The author is frequently careless in his vocalizations and trans- 
lations. He makes no provision for recurrence of vocabulary. No 
word occurs more than once, and the biblical phrases included in 
the last twelve lessons are not based at all on the preceding 
vocabularies. Under such circumstances, any learning of the 
language, except by rote memorization of each individual word 
and phrase, is inconceivable. 

The second part of this book, comprising the grammar, is 
more satisfactory in terms of method* In it, the author attempts 
to present concisely and systematically the rudiments of Hebrew 
grammar. He was apparently familiar with David Kimhi's 
Mikhlol, whose influence is detectable in both the content and 
the method of this part of the book. He evinces, however, some 
originality in the succinct arrangement of the material. 

Carvalho was apparently a scholar after a fashion. He must 
have been fairly conversant with the Bible and later Hebraic 
sources. But his scholarship was undisciplined and desultory. His 
book may have made no contribution to the advancement of the 
methodology of the Hebrew language and to the study of Hebrew 


grammar, but it undoubtedly represents an important stage in 
the groping for a method of teaching Hebrew in America. It is 
worthy of note that this was the first beginner's text, perhaps the 
only such text, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 
where recognition was given to post-biblical Hebrew and where 
this phase of Hebrew was regarded almost on a par with biblical 


The first modern Hebrew grammar, worthy of this designation 
and published in America, appeared in 1821. The author was 
Moses Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological 
Seminary at Andover. A second edition of this grammar, en- 
larged and improved, was published two years later. It is the 
latter edition which is under consideration in this essay. 

Moses Stuart, to whom reference has already been made in 
these pages, was an autodidact. When, at the age of thirty, he 
assumed his post at the Andover Seminary, his knowledge of 
Hebrew was, by his own admission, extremely limited. In the 
course of time, however, he succeeded in. furthering his Hebraic 
knowledge by studying the works of Schultens, Schroder, and 
especially Gesenius, among others, and turned the knowledge 
acquired to good advantage. His grammar is a methodical and 
comprehensive work, and it bears evidence of pedagogic insight. 
He must have been a gifted teacher. 

At the conclusion of Part II of this book, dealing with orthog- 
raphy and phonology, the author presents a grammatical anal- 
ysis of the first five verses of Genesis, in order to exemplify the 
application of the rules discussed in this part. He also offers 
occasionally sound pedagogic suggestions. For example, in order 
to enable the student to learn to identify the Hebrew letters and 
vowels with their respective sounds, he advises him to 


practice writing them down, calling each aloud by name and uttering 
the sound of it as often as he writes it. Let this practice be persisted in, 
until all the vowels and consonants can be recognized with facility 
and pronounced readily; their distinctions definitely described and 
drawn with the pen at pleasure; and their names familiarly recalled 
(p. 46). 

This advice is in keeping with the psychological principle of 
"multiple sense appeal." 

In a text of this type, written over a century ago by a pioneer- 
ing autodidact, it should not be surprising to find some basic 
errors in the light of modern grammatical science. Thus Stuart 
maintains that the final forms of S ,E> ,5 , ,D were unknown to 
the translators of the Septuagint. The various Hebrew inscrip- 
tions, such as those of Mesha, Siloam, and others, had not yet 
been discovered, and he was, therefore, unaware of the fact that 
the final letters retain, in effect, the original forms. Nor did he 
know that the hard pronunciation of the n ,& ,D .1 A ,3 letters 
actually preceded their soft pronunciation. The theory held by 
him and other contemporary grammarians was that the dagesh 
was designed to indicate the removal of the original "aspirated" 
pronunciation of these letters. His discussion of the division of 
the vowels is unduly complicated and unscientific. 

Less excusable are some unfounded and rash statements. One 
wonders, for example, where he picked up the information that 
"according to the Rabbins, the S7 suspended in 1SW? (Ps. 80:14) 
means Christ suspended" (p. 44). He was certainly on the wrong 
track when he attributed to the German Jews the pronunciation 
of the kametz "as a in father" while "the Jews in most of Europe, 
and (if I am rightly informed) in Palestine . . . are in favour of 
giving to it the sound of a in all" (p. 61). He was evidently not 
"rightly informed." At the time Stuart wrote, the prevailing 
pronunciation of Hebrew in Palestine was Sephardic, while that 
of the European Jews, including the Jews of Germany, was 
generally Ashkenazic, in which the kametz was pronounced a 


as in all. The Jews of the Ukraine and Poland, on the other 
hand, gave the long kametz the sound of oo as in food. He should 
have checked the sources of his information more carefully. 
There is, likewise, no justification for his confusing Rashi script 
with "the Tarn letter (probably so named from Tarn a grandson 
of Yarchi, about A. D. i2oo)." 6 

These and a number of other errors in this book do not, 
however, detract from its significance as an important milestone 
in the progress of Hebrew grammatical studies in the United 
States. The fact that this book went through seven editions 
bespeaks the esteem in which it was held and the influence which 
it exercised on scholars and students of the Hebrew language at 
that period. 

The influence of Stuart's work is evident in the works of 
other grammarians of that period, particularly in that of James 
Seixas. 7 In the Introduction to the first edition of his Manual 
Hebrew Grammar, published in 1833, Seixas declared: "From a 
careful and frequent reading of the Bible with Professor Stuart's 
Hebrew Grammar (2nd edition) before me, I have obtained what 
these sheets contain." In this Manual, Seixas attempted to 
present a concise digest of Stuart's Grammar, comprised within 
the compass of forty-four pages, to which was added "A List of 
Peculiar and Anomalous Forms Found in the Hebrew Bible." 

6 Cf. p. 29. The reference is, of course, to Jacob Tarn, a grandson of Rashi. The 
confusion of Rashi with Yarchi occurs in another place in the text (p. 25), and was 
not uncommon among some scholars, who erroneously applied the surname 
Yarchi to Rashi, as early as the sixteenth century. This error is due to the confusion 
of Rashi, whose real name was Solomon ben Yitzhak, with Solomon ben Judah of 
Lunel, in the fifteenth century, who was given the surname of Yarchi, because the 
Hebrew yareah is the equivalent of the French lune, 

? James Seixas was a converted Jew, who taught Hebrew to the Mormons and 
other Christian sects. A letter of appreciation for his "valuable course of Hebrew 
instruction" and profound influence on his pupils, written by Orson Hyde, one of 
the early Mormon leaders, dated March 31, 1834, is in the Library of the Historical 
Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 



Seixas recognized the inadequacy of this succinct digest, and 
in his Introduction he stressed that it was "intended for those 
only who have read or may hereafter read Hebrew with 
the author." He undoubtedly supplemented this digest, in 
teaching his pupils, by additional exercises and exemplification, 
and he was very skeptical as to "whether anyone can obtain 
any satisfactory knowledge from these pages without some one 
to explain them," 

Seixas must have been a popular teacher. He speaks of "the 
several hundreds whom I have instructed." In the second 
edition, which he published in 1834 "at the request of many 
friends/' the text was "enlarged by more copious rules; by 
exercises in spelling, reading and translating, and by a full table 
of the Accents. Also a table of the characteristics of the conjuga- 
tions in the future tense and in the participles has been added, 
and the list of the anomalies at the end has received some 

Yet even the second edition, although expanded to more than 
double the size of the first edition, fails to measure up to our 
modern standards, both from the standpoint of methodology and 
from that of grammatical science. The exercises are inadequate 
and desultory. The nouns are not discussed at all. The author 
failed to understand the nature of the n"b verbs, and he regarded 
the he in these verbs as the original third radical, which changed 
to yod in the middle of the word. Had he read Stuart's Hebrew 
Grammar more carefully, he would not have made this error. 8 

A Hebrew textbook and grammar, small in size and meagre in 
content, appeared in 1834, under the authorship of Joseph 
Aaron, "Hebrew Professor and Teacher of Hebrew Grammar." 
The book bears the title, pnpTn n&rmi na yvh VH rms>& n&o 
.nmp3 DS; mw, A Key to the Hebrew Language and the 

8 See Stuart, Section 122. 


Science of Hebrew Grammar Explained (with Points). First Part. In 
his Preface, the author states: 

This little work is calculated to teach adults to read the Hebrew 
Language, with points, correctly, with Rules, which will enable them, 
with their own study and application, to attain that most desirable 
acquisition, of an acquaintance with the Holy Tongue. 

This text consists of three parts: (a) a series of phonetic and 
grammatical rules, especially related to nouns; (b) a dictionary 
comprising some three hundred words, all monosyllables stem- 
ming from the Bible, with English translations; and (c) reading 
exercises drawn from the liturgy and translated into English. 
According to the author, in his prefatory comment to the 

the following collection of words will not only serve to perfect the 
learner in joining the final consonants in syllables, the most abstruse 
to beginners, but also to furnish him with a good stock of words, both 
of which first principles of language (and most essential to the Hebrew 
tongue, in respect to the different translation of words nearly, and often 
identically the same in orthography and pronunciation) he will acquire 
by an imperceptible gradation, if his master assigns him a daily 
portion as a task, to be learned by rote. 

The author is obviously overoptimistic, both as to the efficacy 
of the daily study of isolated words and as to the value of his 
selected vocabulary as a basis for a knowledge of the Hebrew 
tongue. The study of isolated vocabulary is not regarded as 
desirable practice in modern linguistic methodology. Nor is the 
virtue of monosyllabic words recognized in modern pedagogy, 
especially when these words are not selected either in terms of 
occurrence frequency or of functional utility, as is the case of the 
vocabulary included in this text, 

Aaron's text represents no distinct contribution either to the 
methodology of the Hebrew language or to grammatical science. 
The author, probably an East European or German Jew, must 


have acquired some familiarity with the Sephardic pronuncia- 
tion, then fashionable among the American Jews, and he con- 
fused the pronunciations of Hebrew considerably, as is evident 
from his inconsistent transliterations. Thus he transliterated 
Shiva Nang (shewa na 6 , vocal shewa), Chataph pausuch (hataph 
patah), and Maisag (meteg). He pronounced the tzerei i as in 
mine and the kametz o as in 0, but the consonant ajrin is pro- 
nounced by him as ng, in accordance with the usage then in 
vogue among the Sephardic Jews in America. 

In his Preface, Aaron promised to publish a second part in 
which he intended to discuss "verbs with their conjugations.'* 
But this part apparently never appeared. 


Allusion has previously been made to the low level of Hebraic 
scholarship in America during the early part of the nineteenth 
century. There was hardly anyone in America during that period 
who possessed a thorough grounding in Hebraic sources and a 
scientific mastery of the Hebrew language. Little wonder, then, 
that the most scientific Hebrew grammar of that period and, 
perhaps, of the century, published in America, was written by a 
European-trained Jew, Isaac Nordheimer (1809-42). 

Nordheimer received his early Hebraic training from the 
noted Talmudist, Moses Sofer of Pressburg, Hungary. He con- 
tinued his studies in Germany and received his Ph.D. in Oriental 
languages from the University of Munchen in 1834. Shortly 
thereafter, in 1835, he came to America, and in 1836 accepted 
the post of "Acting Professor of Arabic, etc." in the University 
of the City of New York. With the encouragement and assistance 
of his friend, William W. Turner, whose "constant and essential 
aid in both the literary and typographical execution 35 he 


acknowledged, he published in two volumes A Critical Grammar 
of the Hebrew Language (New York, 1838, 1841). 

In this grammar, the author brings to bear upon his investi- 
gations of the Hebrew language his vast knowledge of Oriental 
and Indo-European languages, as well as of the general prin- 
ciples of comparative linguistics. He makes frequent references 
to Arabic, Aramaic, and Ethiopic, as well as to Sanskrit, Greek, 
and Latin, and to Germanic and Slavic languages. Some of 
his ideas may sound to us now farfetched, fanciful, and obsolete, 
but they certainly bespeak extensive erudition, ingenuity, and 

In the Introduction, Nordheimer sets forth his 

constant aim, to analytically investigate, and synthetically investigate 
and explain, these laws which give rise to the phenomena of formation 
and inflection presented by one of the most natural and regular of 
languages; and at the same time incidentally to point out its surpris- 
ingly intimate connection, both lexicographical and grammatical, not 
only with the other Shemitish languages, but also with those of the 
Japhetish or Indo-European stock, . , . 

Both in his style and in his approach he distinctly manifests the 
influences of his Germanic training, of German mysticism, and 
especially of that "new and splendid era of philology [which] 
has been reserved for the nineteenth century, 55 and which had 
been ushered in by such brilliant grammarians as Wilhelm 
Gesenius (1786-1842) and Heinrich Ewald (died 1875). His zeal 
and enthusiasm for this "new and splendid era" seem to be 
boundless, and he regards "the revolution . . . produced within 
the last thirty years in the science of philology" as "one which 
for magnitude and rapidity has not been surpassed in the history 
of the human mind." He is often carried away by his zeal and 
enthusiasm into the realm of metaphysics, into philosophical 
discussions of the "eternal laws of speech," of "the intimate 
connection between the internal impression of the soul and its 



external representative," of the "nature of the human mind and 
the genius of the language which is its offspring." 

Aside from its involved style and pretentious metaphysics, 
Nordheimer's work contains much interesting material and 
many sound grammatical ideas. The discussion of the vowels 
and their development (Chapter II) based on the vocalic 
triangle, on the three ends of which are the three original vowels 
z, a, and u, is in consonance with our modern conceptions of the 
vowel-system. The treatment of consonant changes (Chapter 
VI) and vowel changes (Chapter VIII) is generally good and 
is amply exemplified, although it contains a number of errors. 
The analogies and comparisons adduced by the author from 
other Semitic and Indo-European languages are often en- 
lightening and interesting. Thus, for example, the author's 
reference to the i vowel as a characteristic of the feminine gender 
in Semitic and Indo-European languages (Section 127) is in- 
triguing and serves to explain a number of grammatical 
phenomena in Hebrew. 9 

Nordheimer, like the other grammarians of that period, 
failed to understand the phonetic evolution of the n ,D ,D ,T ,Ji ,a 
letters. Like Stuart, he regarded the dagesh in these letters as 
evidence of their original "aspirate" pronunciation (Section 38). 
Unlike Stuart, however, he misunderstood and misconstrued 
the nature of the segolate nouns and of the n" 1 ? verbs. 

In corroboration of the assumption that the "aspirate" pro- 
nunciation is the original, Nordheimer adduces "the fact that 
the aspirate pronunciation is that which is denoted in the 
simplest manner, viz., by the character alone, while the unas- 
pirate sound is signified by the addition of a diacritical point"; 
namely, the dagesh. This evidence is, however, invalid. The 
dagesh originated during the Masoretic period, long after the 

9 Gf. the writer's ICtmhi's Hebrew Grammar (Mikhlol), 274, n. 475. 



original explosive pronunciation of the n ,& ,D ,7 j ,3 letters had 
been lost by a process of partial assimilation of these consonants 
to the open-lip position of the preceding vowel; compare the 
Latin habeo, Anglo-Saxon haeban, and English have; or the Latin 
sapiens and French savant. * 

The rejection of the helping-vowel in the declension of the 
segolates was regarded by Nordheimer as due to the fact that 
"the second vowel is shifted back to the first consonant and 
shortened, e. g. ^g with suff. sVa for 'oW* (Section 103, 2). 
Stuart, on the other hand, correctly interpreted such instances 
as a restoration of the original form, where the "furtive vowel" 
in the second syllable is dropped in the declensions, the original 
form being TjVa (Section 143). 

Similarly, Nordheimer erroneously construed the he in the 
rrb verbs as a radical, which changes in the inflections to yod 
(rpia) or is "hardened into its cognate n, e. g. nnVj for nnVa" 
(Section 439). He merely observes in a footnote that the evidence 
in Hebrew and in Arabic has led "some late writers to conclude 
that all Hebrew H" 1 ? verbs were originally either **? or l" 1 ?." 
Stuart consistently and correctly viewed the he in these verbs 
as replacing z.yod or a waw, in order to avoid ending a word with 
these "moveable consonants" (Section 12s). 11 Both Stuart and 
Nordheimer were, however, wrong in regarding the D in nrfrjj, 
as well as in the inflected nominal forms of the feminine (''n&Dn), 
as a substitute for the he. As a matter of fact, the n (t) is the 
original feminine characteristic termination of both verbs and 
nouns in the Semitic languages. Under the influence of a preced- 
ing vowel, this characteristic ending tends to fall away, by 
partial assimilation to the open-lip position of the vowel, also 

I On the origin of the dagesh see W. Chomsky, Jewish Quarterly Review, XXXII, 
I, p. 45, n. 63. 

II Ibid., 205, n. 301. 



in Arabic and in Aramaic in nouns, but it is retained in both 
these languages in the verb. This phenomenon is common also 
in Indo-European languages. x 2 The he at the end of the word in 
Hebrew merely serves as a vowel indication, warning the reader 
not to end the word with a vowel-less consonant. In the in- 
flected forms, however, the n is retained. In the case of 
the form probably evolved from rfra (contracted from 
cf. nfettl Lev. 25:21), where the n came to be regarded as a 
radical, consequently giving rise to nrh\ under the influence of 
the predominating form fl^tpfj. 

Incidentally, the theory that the third radical in the verbs is 
really yod (or waw which passes intoyod) was advanced as early 
as the beginning of the twelfth century by Moses Ibn Chiqui- 
tilla, 13 although Derenbourg attributes this theory to Samuel 
Ha-Nagid. I4 Among the modern grammarians, Gesenius seems 
to have been the first to arrive at this theory independently. x s 

Neither Stuart nor Nordheimer had any clear idea about the 
nature of the Hebrew tenses. Both employed the Indo-Germanic 
names of the three periods of time (past or preterite, present, and 
future), which are entirely foreign to the Semitic tense idea, 
according to which occurrences are viewed only in terms of 
completed or incomplete action. The character or kind of the 
action, rather than the time of the action, is indicated by the 
Hebrew tenses, as was clearly and cogently stated by Driver in 
A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew (1874). Nordheimer's 
lengthy and involved statement, in which he argues that the 

18 Cf. O. Jesperscn, Language, 265, and O'Leary, Comparative Grammar of Semitic 
Languages t 54 flf. 

s Cf. Backer, Hebrdische Sprachwissenschaft, 60, and Abraham Ibn Ezra als Gram- 
matiker, 91 f. and 153. 

x * Opuscules et Traitts tf Abort l-Walid Merwan Ibn Djinah, Introduction XX, 
*$ Lehrgebdude der hebrdischen Sprache > 421, 



" choice of tenses in the Hebrew, as well as the paucity of their 
number, are additional proofs of the venerable antiquity of the 
language," is, therefore, unfounded, and further attests the 
influence of German mysticism on his grammatical thinking. 

Both Stuart and Nordheimer were the outstanding Hebrew 
grammarians of that period in America. Nordheimer was the 
greater Hebraic scholar and the more profound linguist, but 
Stuart must have been superior to him in teaching ability. 
Nordheimer's Grammar lacks the simplicity and clarity of style, 
as well as the systematic, methodical organization which 
Stuart's Grammar possesses. This might explain why Stuart's 
work enjoyed such vogue and popularity as to go through seven 
editions, whereas only two editions of Nordheimer' s Grammar 

Stuart, Seixas, and Nordheimer x 6 all refer erroneously to an 
inverted nun in tfbaa (Num. 10:35). This error is due to the fact 
that the section tfbaa wi (Num. 10:35-36) is marked off in our 
Masoretic text by an inverted nun at the beginning and at the 
end. This nun was plausibly construed by Ludwig Blau as the 
initial of nakud (punctuated), referring to the dots which had 
been in the text originally above and below the letters in this 
section, but were later eliminated to prevent confusion resulting 
from the letters and dots running into one another. T 7 These 
grammarians must have regarded this inverted nun as referring 
to the nun of BOH. 

16 See M. Stuart, Hebrew Grammar (2nd edition), 44; J. Seixas, Manual Hebrew 
Grammar (1833), 12; I. Nordheimer, A Critical Grammar of the Hebrew Language 
(New York, 1838, 1841), I, 7, n. 

J 7 Cf. the talmudic statement, Shabbat H5b-n6a, nVjmVo nvao'D n'npn nV npy 
m VNP liV nBD^oi, and Rashi ad loc. t also Soferim 6:1. 




All these scholarly efforts were designed primarily for adult 
beginners or advanced students of Hebrew in the colleges and 
universities. The first attempt to meet the needs of the young 
pupils in the elementary grades of the Jewish schools, which 
began to be established during the second quarter of the nine- 
teenth century, was made by that indefatigable worker on 
behalf of Jewish education in America during that period, Isaac 
Leeser. His textbook, entitled 'antf' ^D nstt flK IB 1 ? 1 ? *p7 n*n 
nnar p0*? 0*n, The Hebrew Reader Designed as an Easy Guide to 
the Hebrew Tongue for Jewish Children and Self-Instruction. No. I, 
The Spelling Book, was first published in 1838, and in 1856 the 
fourth edition of this text was issued. 

This book, as Leeser writes in his Preface to the fourth edi- 
tion, was to be the first of "a whole series calculated for the 
acquisition of the Hebrew, if proper encouragement had been 
extended." He complained, however, that although the book 
"has met with approbation, still the sale has been quite small." 
Yet the author drew comfort from the fact that " additional 
efforts are made to erect schools for the spread of the Hebrew 
language," and consequently he felt that he might be encour- 
aged to proceed with the publication of "Hebrew Reader No. II, 
containing easy lessons for translations from Hebrew into 

It is regrettable that Leeser did not carry out his plan for the 
publication of the subsequent readers of the series. The Spelling 
Book merely gives attention to phonetic aspects of Hebrew. It 
provides exercises, as well as a few simple grammatical rules of 
pronunciation and reading of the language. Liturgical selec- 
tions with English translations are appended at the end of 
the book. 



The Spelling Book also includes directions to the teachers, 
designed to guide them in the proper use of the lessons in the 
text. These directions are interspersed among the lessons, a 
practice which is, from a pedagogic point of view, unsatis- 
factory. However, both in the construction of the reading 
exercises for the pupils, as well as in his suggestions to the 
teachers, Lesser evinces a fine pedagogic insight and acu- 

A primer much more comprehensive in scope and ambitious 
in approach and method was that by the Reverend G. M. Cohen, 
published in 1850, bearing the endorsements of Rabbis Leo 
Merzbacher, Max Lilienthal, Herman Felsenheld, and Muhl- 
felder. This work. The Hebrew Language, consists of two parts: 
theoretical and practical. The first, the theoretical part, con- 
tains rules covering virtually the entire range of Hebrew gram- 
mar, concisely presented, as well as paradigms of both nouns and 
verbs. The second part comprises reading and language exer- 
cises. The language exercises are modeled on the pattern of the 
Ollendorf method of teaching foreign languages, according to 
which each lesson exemplifies a certain specific principle of 
grammar or usage and operates with a limited new vocabulary, 
which is given at the beginning of the lesson. Translation 
exercises for drill purposes are provided in each lesson. These 
exercises consist of expressions and sentences which are mainly 
disconnected, although toward the end of this book some original 
stories and connected discourse, incorporating biblical materials, 
are included. 

Cohen was undoubtedly a good Hebraist and a fine peda- 
gogue. His Hebrew is, in the main, accurate and, in the spirit 
of the time, biblical, but it is simple and direct, without the 
periphrases and the flourishes characteristic of the Haskalah 
style, then in vogue. Some of his pedagogic ideas may sound 
revolutionary even today. Few of our modern Hebrew educators 



in America would subscribe, for example, to the following 
recommendation made by our author: 

As soon as the scholar knows the letters well and is able to combine 
them with some alacrity, nothing should be read by him without the 
meaning thereof being given immediately. He ought never to imagine 
that a word could be read without understanding it. 

Yet it is doubtful whether Cohen had any direct experience 
in teaching children. He attempted to achieve results which are 
unrealistic. He managed to compress within the framework of 
some thirty pages the fundamental principles of Hebrew gram- 
mar, and, within a little over fifty pages, a vocabulary of some 
six hundred words in various formations. It is inconceivable how 
children, in the primary grades, could be expected to master all 
this material in one year, or even in two years, even taking into 
consideration the fact that the Hebrew instruction in those days 
was given in all-day schools. Such a feat would tax the capacities 
also of older beginners. 

Furthermore, one finds it difficult to reconcile the author's 
statement that the pupil "ought never to imagine that a word 
could be read without understanding it' 3 with his procedure of 
including in the text liturgical selections, without translations, 
which are couched in a vocabulary beyond that incorporated in 
the Hebrew section. Did he mean to exempt liturgical Hebrew 
from the category of words that should never be read without 
comprehension? Cohen's point of view in this regard is not 
entirely clear. 

The mechanical make-up of the Hebrew primers in those 
days was, of course, far below the modern standards for such 
books. They were drab and unattractive in appearance. The 
print was small, and no pictures or illustrations, no rhymes or 
songs, no frills or furbelows were employed to relieve the 
monotony and drabness of these texts. This may be one reason 
why Jewish education was so unpopular in those days, even 


though the public schools had not yet come into vogue to 
claim the major part of the time and attention of the Jewish 


In sum, the development of Hebrew grammar and textbook 
writing during the early part of the nineteenth century pro- 
ceeded along two lines: methodological and philological. Most 
of the works discussed here had a didactic motivation and 
purpose. They were designed primarily to teach Hebrew to 
beginners, young and old. Two of these grammars, those by 
Stuart and Nordheimer, were also designed to further the 
science of Hebrew grammar. Although crudities and errors are 
to be found in both the methodological and the philological 
areas, there is no doubt that these works constituted the ground- 
work for the progress of Hebraic studies in this country. Some 
of these works, especially those of Stuart and Nordheimer, can 
still be studied with profit. 


The Founders of 

"Wissenschaft des Judentums" 
and America 




TWENTY-THREE years ago, even before his arrival in 
America, this writer became acutely aware of the importance 
of research in the history of the Jews in the New World. The 
various causes of emigration from Europe, political and legal 
as well as religious and economic, the fate of the immigrants 
in their new homeland, their religious activities, and their 
achievements in all areas of human culture aroused his interest 
as an historian. The interaction of European atmosphere and 
American climate caught his special attention and occupied it 
for many years. From this interest several studies resulted, small 
in size at the beginning, later growing in volume through 
increasing historical materials and a deepening insight into the 
religious developments and sociological problems. * Future Amer- 

Dr. Guide Kisch is Research Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew Union 
College -Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. 

1 "German Jews in White Labor Servitude in America," Publications of the American 
Jewish Historical Society, XXXIV (1937), n~49; "A Voyage to America Ninety 
Years Ago: The Diary of a Bohemian Jew on His Voyage from Hamburg to New 
York, 1847," PAJHS, XXXV (1939), 65-113; "Israels Herold: The First Jewish 
Weekly in New York," Historia Judaica, II (1940), 65-84; "Two American Jewish 
Pioneers of New Haven," Historia Judaica, IV (1942), 16-37; "The Revolution 


lean Jewish historiography will have to assess whatever merit 
these researches may have. 

Despite the availability of the abundant resources of the 
libraries in New York, great idealism and sincere devotion to 
scholarship were needed to carry on and successfully complete 
such studies. A volume of the Publications of the American 
Jewish Historical Society appeared at irregular intervals, about 
every two to four years. "Unlike the quarterly of the American 
Historical Association where there frequently appear speculative 
and theoretical articles, the Publications show a consistent devo- 
tion to notes, sketches, isolated documents, historical oddments 
and tag ends. Exceptions, such as Alexander Marx's 'Aims and 
Tasks of Jewish Historiography 3 (1918), were few in number. 
The first volume, published in 1 893, bears a close resemblance 
to many of its thirty-four successors." 3 Obviously, historical 
research owes a debt of gratitude to all the well-meaning 
amateur historians who preserved historical materials in the 
pages of the Publications. As a rule, however, their comments 

of 1848 and the Jewish 'On to America' Movement," PAJHS, XXXVIII (1949), 
185-234; In Search of Freedom: A History of American Jews from Czechoslovakia (London, 
1949), xvi, 373 pp. 

8 Harold J. Jonas, "Writing American Jewish History," Contemporary Jewish Record, 
VI (1943), 144; moreover, the important discussion in Bernard D. Weinryb, 
"American Jewish Historiography: Facts and Problems," Hebrew Union College 
Annual, XXIII, Part II (1950-51), 221-44; cf- a* 80 H. Schmidt, "A Broader 
Approach to Jewish History," Commentary, VIII (1949), 588-93. On the American 
Jewish Historical Society, Isidore S. Meyer, "The American Jewish Historical 
Society," Journal of Jewish Bibliography, IV (1943), Nos. 1-2. A good survey of 
the present state of research in American Jewish history is found in Joshua 
Trachtenberg, "American Jewish Scholarship," The Jewish People Past and 
Present, IV (New York, 1955), 446-48. On modern Jewish scholarship in America 
in general, Ismar Elbogen, "American Jewish Scholarship: A Survey," American 
Jewish Tear Book, XLV (1943), 47-65; Solomon B. Freehof, "Prospects for Amer- 
ican Jewish Scholarship," Judaism, III (1954), 381-90; cf. also Joshua Trachtenberg, 
* 'Jewish Bibliography in America," Studies in Bibliography and Booklore, II (1956), 
99-101; Moses Rischin, An Inventory of American Jewish History (Cambridge, Mass., 



were limited to such remarks as "The document is self- 
explanatory," "The letters may speak for themselves/' and the 
like. This, of course, hardly deserved the name of historiography . 
Nor did it produce understanding or encouragement of attempts 
at a scholarly approach toward American Jewish history. 

The present situation differs considerably from that of even 
ten years ago. American Jewish history, which in some circles 
was regarded as altogether without scholarly quality because 
of its lack of Hebrew sources, has risen to the academic level. 
All Jewish institutions of higher learning in the country teach 
it as a supplement to the study of the ancient, medieval, and 
modern European history of the Jews. A number of important 
research centers came into being, destined to collect and preserve 
materials as well as to stimulate iuterest in this most recent 
addition to the various fields of Jewish history. Still more, a 
methodology of American Jewish history is under scholarly 
discussion, and new ways and means of literary approach are 
being worked out, adjusted to the specific character of the 
subject. The tercentenary celebration made the general public 
aware of the aims and tasks of American Jewish history and 
historiography, although, from a scholarly point of view, it 
has failed at least until now to produce the American 
"Graetz" or "Dubnow." 

To Professor Jacob R. Marcus goes credit for a considerable 
share in the upward trend of the development so briefly out- 
lined. In addition to the founding of the American Jewish 
Archives and the scholarly journal of the same name published 
under its auspices, his own well-known literary output in the 
new area of Jewish historiography furnishes ample evidence of 
this. It was appreciation of his work and achievements that 
persuaded me to accept the invitation of the editor to participate 
in the volume commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 
American Jewish Archives. To contribute an article to a 


Festschrift comprised exclusively of essays in American Jewish 
history involved considerable difficulties not only on account 
of the time limit, but also because of my present preoccupation 
with problems of the history of European Jewry during the 
sixteenth century. The very sketchy presentation that follows 
can, therefore, merely touch on and direct the attention of 
scholars to a problem of American Jewish Geistesgeschichte that 
deserves thoroughgoing investigation on a larger scale than has 
heretofore been accorded it. Unfortunately, the author must 
deny himself the privilege of delving more deeply into this 



More than half a century ago, Ludwig Geiger stated in the 
conclusion to his interesting article, "Aus L. Zunz 5 Nachlass": 
"In three years Zunz's one hundredth birthday will be commem- 
orated; a dignified biography would seem the most worthwhile 
celebration of this memorial day." 3 In 1936, at the time of 
Zunz's fiftieth Tahrzeit, Ismar Elbogen revived the memory of 
one of the greatest Jewish historians of the nineteenth century 
with a fine brief, yet comprehensive, essay. 4 Up to this day, 
however, a biography worthy of the "father of c Wissenschaft 
des Judentums' " has not yet been written. s In an earlier 
valuable study, "Aus dem Leben Leopold Zunz*, " Siegmund 
Maybaum correctly assessed the great difficulties which will 
confront the future biographer of that outstanding figure in 

3 Ludwig Geiger's %sitschriftfur die Geschickte derjuden in Deutschland, V (1892), 268. 

* Ismar Elbogen, "Leopold Zimz zum Ged&chtnis," Funfyigster Bericht der Lehranstalt 
fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin (Berlin, 1936), 14-32. 

s For bibliography, see Alexander Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore 
(New York, 1944), 346, note I. 



the history of Jewish scholarship: "Through his many-sided 
activities in scholarship and life Zunz makes no small demands 
on the intellectual qualities of his biographer. First of all, he 
must be thoroughly acquainted with the development of the 
entire 'Judische Wissenschaft' in his century, influenced as it 
was for the most part in its foundation and growth by Zunz; 
then, he must be familiar with the school system of the Berlin 
Jewish community and also with the political movements of 
the year 1848 and the following period; finally, he must not 
be lacking an intimate knowledge of the cultural history of the 
Jews in this era and of the history of journalism and belles- 
lettres in Prussia and Berlin during the first half of the nine- 
teenth century." 6 This statement is of undiminished validity 
even today. 

Zunz's modern biographer will be even more intrigued. 
While the work of preceding generations concentrated on the 
collection and presentation of the documentary raw material, 
his task will be to evaluate it from the point of view of the 
history of ideas. Only recently was Zunz's dependence on the 
ideological structure of scholarship in his own time first 
investigated. 7 A similar approach will be necessary to reveal 
his influence on modern Jewish scholarship in general and also 
on America. That such a topic is by no means far-fetched is 
self-evident. If it should need support from the factual aspect of 
Zunz's personal interest in America and the receptivity of 
American Jewish scholars to the master's work even during 
his lifetime, a few documents offer eloquent evidence of such 

6 Wissenschaftliche Beigabe zum Oster-Programm der Lekranstalt fur die Wissmschaft 
des jfudenttans (Berlin, 1894), 63 pages in quarto. 

i Luitpold Wallach, "The Scientific and Philosophical Background of Zunz's 
'Science of Judaism*," Historia Judaica, IV (1942), 51-70; Wallach, "The Begin- 
nings of the Science of Judaism in the Nineteenth Century," ibid., VIII (1946), 
44-60, with tether bibliography; Fritz Bamberger, "Zunz's Conception of His- 
tory," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, XI (1941), 1-25. 


contacts. Attention will be directed to them in the following 

The earliest document goes back to the year 1822, a time 
from which very few examples of the otherwise abundant Zunz 
correspondence are preserved. 8 It is the well-known letter of 
June 1 5 1822, addressed to Mordecai Manuel Noah, who had 
launched his "Ararat 53 project of a Jewish State in America 
and found interest for it among the members of the Vere in fur 
Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden in Berlin. 9 After some contacts 
with the group had been established, Noah received an official 
letter from the Verein in Berlin, signed by Eduard Cans, the 
learned Hegelian, antagonist of Friedrich Carl von Savigny, 
and later professor of law at the University of Berlin, as the 
president, and by Zunz, as the vice-president. It expresses ap- 
preciation, gratitude, and even enthusiasm for the project be- 
cause of "the general distress and public calamity under which 
a great part of the European Jews labored some years ago and 
still are seen to labor." "The more enlightened and respectable 
segment of European Jews are looking with anxious eagerness 
to the United States of North America, happy to exchange the 
miseries of their native soil for public freedom which is there 
granted to every religion and likewise for that general happiness 

8 Zunz, "Meine Schriften," Jahrbuchfurjudische Geschichte und Literatur 1936 (Berlin, 
I937)> * 68, note 10, by Immanuel Bernfeld. 

9 Published in two different English translations: Samuel Oppenheim, "Mordecai 
M. Noah; A Letter to Him, Dated 1822, from Eduard Gans and Leopold Zunz, 
Relating to the Emigration of German Jews to America," PAJHS, XX (1911), 
147-49; Morris U. Schappes, A Documentary History of the Jews in the United States, 
1654-1875 (New York, 1950), pp. 159 f., with an historical account on pp. 157 f. 
and p. 604, note 4. Cf. Bernard D. Weinryb, "Noah's Ararat Jewish State in Its 
Historical Setting," PAJHS, XLIII (1954), 170 ff., especially pp. 184 f. and 
note 50; Siegfried Ucko, "Geistesgeschichtliche Grundlagen der Wissenschaft des 
Judentums (Motive des Kulturvereins vom Jahre 1819)," ^eitschriftjur die Geschichte 
der Juden in Deutschland, V (1934), 23, 33 (on Sinai [Eliezar Simon] Kirschbaum's 
pamphlet, Hilkhoth Temoth Hamashiah, published in 1822). 



which not the adherents of a privileged faith alone, but every 
citizen is allowed to share/ 5 "Information relating to the state 
of the Jews in America, their progress in business and knowledge 
and the rights allowed them in general and by each state" is 
requested in order to promote "the emigration of European 
Jews to the United States . . . from a country where they have 
nothing to look forward to but endless slavery and oppression." 
This letter which, unfortunately, is preserved only in contem- 
porary translations from the German published in American 
newspapers, reflects very clearly the mood of despair and the 
waning hope for a change in the oppressive political climate 
in Germany. 

Another such outpouring of despondency from Zunz's pen 
reached the shores of America after the failure of the Revolution 
of 1848. As much as fifteen years earlier, Zunz had an eye on 
America, at that time giving consideration to an offer of a 
rabbinical position in New York. I0 Now, in the spring of 1849, 
he became a literary contributor to the newly founded first 
Jewish weekly in New York, Israels Herold, and also a cor- 
respondent, sending to its editor, Isidore Busch, reports on the 
situation of the Jews in Germany. 11 An anonymous "Letter 
from Berlin," preserved in the original German in the pages of 
that newspaper, is for the most part political in content. 12 
Zunz's interest in politics and his journalistic-political activity 
as a member of the editorial staff of the influential Spenersche 
in Berlin are well known. * 3 There can be no doubt 

10 David Kaufmann, Gesammelte Schriften, I (Frankfurt am Main, 1908), 343. 

11 For details, see Guido Kisch, "Israels Herold," Historic. Judaica, II (1940)? 75 f - 
" Israels Herold, I (1849), 63. 

*3 Siegmund Maybaum, "Aus dem Leben Leopold Zunz," 14, note I; 1 6. Zunz's 
work on the editorial staff of the Spenersche fyitung deserves a detailed investiga- 



that this letter was written by him. x 4 It displays his skepticism, 
sarcasm, and bluntness. As he had done earlier, and as he did 
again later on, in discussing the status of the Jews, Zunz resorted 
to a "Flucht in die Offentlichkeit" by mentioning in public his 
private affairs. Who else was as well informed and concerned 
about Zunz's pitiful personal situation as Zunz himself? He 
who in 1848 had expressed his loyal sympathy with the rev- 
olutionaries, 15 offered in mocking terms a description of the 
Jewish situation, against the background of the general situation, 
and bitterly complained about his own misfortune. The letter, 
dated Berlin, April 30, 1849, reads in part, in English translation, 
as follows: 

You ask me for reports on Jewish conditions at a time when no one 
is a Jew, and no one a Christian, when perhaps the Jews feel more 
sympathy for Pope Pius IX (who, with the aid of the French, is now 
entering Rome quite peacefully and grants amnesty) than many a 
Catholic; when many a Christian is a more ardent admirer of the 
Jews of Jacob than of his saints! A time when our brothers in Hungary 
put on the knapsack instead of the %idakel [izit: "fringes"] and even 
the walls of Bremen do not collapse at the acceptance of Jews as 
citizens within it ! 

For instance, who is concerned now when the wealthy [Jewish] commu- 
nity of Berlin, in wretched niggardliness, withdraws the small annual 
stipend from an old man highly deserving of it for his scholarly work, 
a man who is an ornament of Israel of whom one might well be proud, 

x * Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore, 353, refers to a statement by Zunz: 
"There appeared in November, 1842, in the Spenersche %eihmg an article against 
[Zacharias] Frankel which some people wrongly ascribe to me; I do not write 
anonymously." "This statement is rather curious," adds Marx, "since twelve 
years earlier Zunz had sent a long critical article (which was never printed) to 
[Gabriel] Riesser with the injunction to publish it anonymously and not to tell 
even his most intimate friends who the author was." In the case under discussion 
above, the reason for the anonymity is, quite obviously, to be found in the then 
existing political situation. On the latter, see Zunz's own remarks in Marx, op. <?#, 

x sSee Ludwig Geiger, "Zunz im Verkehr mit Behdrden und Hochgestellten," 
Monatsschriftjur Gesckichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums, LX (1916), 246. 



and would expose him to want, a man like Zunz, were it not for the 
noblehearted friends who gladly efface such disgrace by contributing 
of their own means? Berlin continues to be besieged, a second Chamber 
elected by the people is dissolved once more. Again a few human 
sacrifices fall before the Moloch-like kingdom, the purple is revived 
with blood. . . . 

. . . and with all this, you still wish reports on Judaism? Pardon me, 
I cannot help you in this; nevertheless, I shall shortly send you the 
[Allgemeine] ^eitung des Judentwms and the Orient by steamer; besides, 
they are not read very much even here. l6 

The third Zunz letter sent to an American correspondent 
is of an entirely different character. It was written twenty-five 
years later and was addressed to Rabbi Bernhard Felsenthal in 
Chicago. On the eve of Zunz's eightieth birthday Felsenthal 
joined with two other eminent American rabbis and scholars, 
Kaufmann Kohler and Liebmann Adler, as well as with a 
prominent lawyer and leader in Jewish community activities, 
Julius Rosenthal, all of Chicago, in addressing an enthusiastic 
letter of congratulation to Zunz. In it his great achievements 
and his many contributions to the Wissenschaft des Judentums 
were extolled, and the debt owed him by American Jewish 
scholarship and the letter writers who recognized him gratefully 
as their teacher was described in vivid language. His entire 
literary work was reviewed in detail and praised. A draft of 
the letter is preserved in the Felsenthal collection of the Amer- 
ican Jewish Historical Society, and is published here for the 
first time. J 7 Zunz's letter of thanks and appreciation did not 

1 6 The original wording in German is reproduced in Appendix I. A similar habit 
of employing the press in the interests of his own private affairs is related also of 
Zunz's friend and onetime associate in the Kulturverein, Heinrich Heine, the poet; 
see Eugen Wohlhaupter, Dichterjuristen (Tubingen, 1955), II, 515: "Nach einem 
Zwischenspiel, in welchem Heine wieder einmal die Presse fur seine privaten 
Interessen zu mobilisieren versuchte, . . ." 

*i Appendix II. This letter is mentioned by Adolf Kober, "Jewish Religious and 
Cultural Life in America as Reflected in the Felsenthal Collection," PAJHS, 



convey similar rejoicing. x 8 It was dictated by a mood of mel- 
ancholy and depression. Having lost, less than a week before, 
his faithful companion "after fifty- two years and one hundred 
days of happily married life," he was broken in spirit, never 
again to recover. 19 From a letter of Moritz Steinschneider, 
published below, we learn that through his mediation Felsenthal 
sent another letter of congratulation to Zunz ten years later, on 
the occasion of the master's ninetieth birthday. 20 Neither its 
wording nor the reply is known. 

Zunz's work, however, has not ceased to exert influence upon 
American Jewish scholarship to this very day. If literary support 
for this positive statement be needed, a more impressive state- 
ment could hardly be found than the following paragraph in 
the conclusion of Solomon Schechter's appraisal of Zunz's 
literary work, which was written with clear vision long before 
the future leader of the Conservative movement was called to 

It is difficult to say what turn Judaism would have taken without 
the influence of Zunz in those parts of the world where the Jews have 

XLV (1955), 100. Sincere thanks are due to Rabbi Isidore S. Meyer, librarian and 
editor of the American Jewish Historical Society, for placing this, as well as the 
Zunz, Geiger, and Steinschneider letters, Appendices III, V, and VI, at my 
disposal, and for permission to publish them. 

1 8 It is published from the original in the Felsenthal collection, Appendix III. 
C Adolf Kober, "Aspects of the Influence of Jews from Germany on American 
Jewish Spiritual Life of the Nineteenth Century," in Eric E. Hirschler (editor), 
Jews from Germany in the United States (New York, 1955), I/O f. 

1 This is corroborated also by a letter from Abraham Geiger to Felsenthal of 
September 16, 1874, printed in Kober, loc. cit., pp. 171 f. There Geiger refers to 
the congratulatory letter that "pleased him [Geiger] greatly and brought much 
joy also to Zunz, evidence of which is found in his letter of thanks." 

20 Appendix VI. On the same occasion Felsenthal published an article, "Leopold 
Zunz," in the Illinois Staatszeitung of August 8, 1884, which was reprinted in the 
Jewish Herald of August 15, 1884; Emma Felsenthal, Bernhard Felsenthal, Teacher 
in Israel (New York, 1924), 325, No. 191. 



already ceased, or have not as yet begun, to think, and in which 
the respect for institutions is so great that the fact of their mere existence 
is sufficient reason for maintaining them. In these countries Judaism 
will always remain the private property of Parnasim and a matter of 
indifference to the great bulk of the community. But happily there 
are also other countries, and they contain the great majority of the 
Jews, where people do think and where the power of the idea is so 
great that nothing else but ideas could reconcile them with Judaism. 
For these countries Zunz did a saving work by revealing to them the 
great idea of Judaism, and it is in these countries that we have to 
look for the future of Judaism. 21 



No less research and effort than for Zunz will have to be expended 
also on determining the influence on American Jewish scholar- 
ship of other luminaries of Wissenschaft des Judentums. In fact, 
such names as Zacharias Frankel (1801-75), Abraham Geiger 
(1810-74), Heinrich (Hirsch) Graetz (1817-91), and Moritz 
Steinschneider (1816-1907) became stars in the firmament of 
the modern Jewish scholarly world, including America. Here, 
too, only a few literary finds and observations can be offered 
in the notes that follow; intensive search for as complete raw 
material as possible and its evaluation must at present remain a 

31 Solomon Schechter, "Leopold Zunz," in his Studies in Judaism: Third Series 
(Philadelphia, 1924), pp. 115 L This essay, comprising pp. 84-142, "was written 
in -1889 for a prize offered by the New York Jewish Ministers* Association, which 
was awarded for it in 1890. The intention to enlarge it and to add some of Zunz's 
unpublished notes was never carried out." Of, Schechter, op. cit., p. 279, note. It 
would seem to be a good idea for the New York Board of Rabbis to offer another 
prize for a definitive biography of Zunz. It is significant, indeed, that the editor of 
and contributors to the most recent one-volume Jewish history, Great Ages and 
Ideas of the Jewish People (New York, 1956), could find no more appropriate motto 
for their work than a quotation from Leopold Zunz. 



wistful hope. The name of Adolf Jellinek (1820-93), the cel- 
ebrated preacher and profound student of philosophy, Kabala, 
and Midrash, should not be left unmentioned in this connection. 
Not even its significance for the development of Jewish preaching 
in America has until now claimed an historian's attention. 2 2 

Abraham Geiger's ideas had a most powerful impact on the 
growth of American Judaism, and his influence proved to be 
lasting. * 3 Yet he himself could not realize or foresee this during 
his lifetime. Only five weeks before he died, he wrote to Rabbi 
Felsenthal in Chicago: "My contact with America is very loose. 
Kohler, Landsberger [Max Landsberg] in Rochester, young 
Adler [Felix Adler] do not write a single word." Nevertheless, he 
concluded what was probably his last letter to America with the 
following question and statement: "Will you send us new pupils 
from America? We could use them and they us." 24 

Zacharias FrankeFs importance for American Jewish religious 
thought and life is by no means of lesser magnitude, nor should 
it be underestimated, in spite of the fact that until now American 
scholars have given it scant attention. 2S Frankel is the only one 

2a A brief article, "Jellinek and America," was published by George Alexander 
Kohut in PAJHS, XXXIII (1934), 237-49. Apart from the few documents re- 
produced therein, it contains merely sentimental reminiscences in a more 
belletristic style. Not even the alleged occasion of their compilation and publication 
is historically correct: the year 1930 did not mark "the centenary (1930) of the 
death of Adolf Jellinek." He died in 1893. Cf., moreover, Guido Kisch, In Search 
of Freedom, 298, note 1 8. 

a * Gf. David Philipson, The Reform Movement in Judaism (New York, 1931), passim. 

a * Abraham Geiger's letter to Felsenthal of September 16, 1874 (the Felsenthal 
collection of the American Jewish Historical Society): "... Meine Verbindung 
mit Amerika 1st sehr locker. Kohler, Landsberger [Max Landsberg] in Rochester, 
der junge Adler lassen nicht ein Wortchen von sich h6ren. . . . Werden Sie uns neue 
Schuler aus Amerika senden? Wir konnen sie und sie uns brauchen." 

*s Gf. Philipson, op. cit., passim; Louis Ginzberg, "Zechariah Frankel," in his 
Students, Scholars and Saints (Philadelphia, 1928), 195-216. Ginzberg, op. cit., 216, 
concluded his discourse on Frankel with these words: "The whole future of Jewish 
science depends upon whether we shall number among ourselves many more men 



among the early representatives of Wissenschaft des Judenturns 
who gave any thought to American Jewish history. As early as 
1863 he even published a long article, "Zur Geschichte der 
Juden Amerikas," which has completely escaped American 
Jewish historians. It is an extensive, critical review of I. J. 
Benjamin IPs Drei Jahre in Amerika, 1859-62, with numerous 
references to related publications and a number of corrections. 2<s 
In commenting on George Washington's well-known letter to 

who, like Frankel, shall combine harmoniously the old and the new," In commem- 
oration of the one hundredth anniversary of Frankel's birth, a pamphlet was 
published by Professor Gotthard Deutsch of Cincinnati entitled %achariah Frankel 
(author, place, and date of publication not given on the cover). A dedication page 
reads: "To the Rev, Dr. B. Felsenthal, Rabbi Emeritus of Sinai Congregation, 
Chicago, 111., are these pages respectfully dedicated on the occasion of his Eightieth 
Birthday, January 2, 1902, by his true friend and admirer, G. Deutsch." The 
pamphlet contains three addresses, each entitled "Zachariah Frankel," by Gotthard 
Deutsch, Louis Ginzberg, and Kaufmann Kohler, which had been delivered at 
the Frankel memorial meeting of the Ohole Shem Society, on October 6, 1901, 
in New York. (A copy of the rare pamphlet is hi the New York Public Library.) 
In his necrology, "Solomon Schechter," Ginzberg, 250 f., remarked: "In his first 
public address in this country he [Schechter] stated that the paramount duty of 
American Jewry is the emancipation of Jewish science ... it is ... the source of 
our rejuvenation, the spring from which we draw life and existence." This is in 
the good tradition of Wissenschaft des Judenturns. In contrast to Ginzberg, Norman 
Bentwich, Solomon Schechter: A Biography (Philadelphia, 1938), pp. 42 ff., relates 
practically nothing of Schechter's relationship to Frankel's school of thought and 
apparently did not search for solid information. Yet Bentwich knew that Rabbi 
Pincus Fritz (not Friedrich) Frankl lived with Schechter "as David and Jonathan," 
that the last-mentioned "lived much of the time in FrankPs house," and that 
Schechter dedicated to his memory the first volume of his Studies in Judaism. Pincus 
Fritz Frankl, successor to Abraham Geiger, as a rabbi in Berlin, was one of Zacharias 
Frankel's most gifted students and a favorite pupil of his. His intellectual relation- 
ship with Schechter was certainly important, of lasting influence, and by no 
means confined to the insignificant details reported by Bentwich. 

a6 Monatsschrift jvr Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums, XII (1863), 321-29; 
361-77; 431-33; cf. Guido Kisch, In Search of Freedom, pp. 185 f. Frankel's article 
remained unknown also to all who cooperated in the recent English translation, 
I. J. Benjamin, Three Tears in America, 1859-1862, translated from the German by 
Charles Reznikoff, with an introduction by Oscar Handlin, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 
1956), in spite of the fact that the last-mentioned author once reviewed my book 
in which the quotation is to be found. 



the Hebrew congregation of Newport, R. I,, Frankel remarked: 
"In Newport, a phase in American Jewish history has found 
fulfillment, which evokes admiration as well as sadness. History 
finds its continuation on different soil, if, as we must state 
regretfully, with less splendor. Yet America has a great future, 
and the hope may be uttered that Judaism in America, too, will 
fulfil its mission." 37 

Heinrich Graetz is perhaps the only historic figure among the 
founders of Wissenschaft des Judentums to whose significance for 
Jewish learning and education in the broadest meaning of the 
terms for American Jewry a specific study has been devoted. In 
commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the 
great Jewish historian, the editor of Historia Judaica invited 
Dr. Solomon Grayzel to write an historical evaluation of the 
role played by Graetz's classical work on Jewish history in 
America. This fine essay, to which the reader may be referred 
for detailed information, studies the genesis and success of the 
"American Graetz" on the basis of archival and newspaper 
material. 28 Only a few illustrative findings and statements of 
its author on Graetz's influence upon Jewish historical thought 
and knowledge in America may be quoted here. 

. . . Of the greatness of that influence there can be no doubt. It 
may be measured by the number of sets of the American edition sold 
by the Jewish Publication Society, which reached into many tens 
of thousands, though their price was not particularly cheap. It may 
also be measured by the fact that other publishers thought it good 
business to produce a translation of the Volkstumliche Geschichte, another 
and more condensed abbreviation of the larger German work. . . . 

* f Frankel, loc. cit. 9 329 (translation from the German). In his Monatssckrift> VI 
(1857), 359-64, Frankel had published (in German translation) the three messages 
of congratulation addressed to George Washington in 1790 by the "Hebrew 
Congregation" in Savannah, Ga.; the one in Newport, R. I.; and a joint message 
from the congregations in Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, S. C., and 
Richmond, Va. He also published Washington's reply to these congregations. 

8 Solomon Grayzel, "Graetz's History in America," Historia Judaica, III (1941), 
53-66; the quotation is taken from pp. 62 f. 



This edition, too, has undergone several reprintings. The same edition 
has also been translated into Yiddish and has had a fairly wide cir- 
culation in this form. Nor is this all; every text-book written during 
the past fifty years has openly, or silently though quite as obviously, 
based itself on Graetz. It would be difficult indeed to find a university 
thesis or any other volume, by Jew or Gentile, dealing with the Jews, 
wherein the name of Graetz does not appear in the footnotes or the 

The volumes of Graetz, sometimes the original German but usually 
the American edition, have served as an inexhaustible mine for articles 
in Jewish dailies or weeklies. The sermons of the hundreds of American 
rabbis have not infrequently derived their meat and substance, and 
sometimes even their attitudes and eloquence, from the English 
translation. . . . The fact remains indisputable that an entire generation 
of American Jews has been brought up on Graetz's historical teaching 
and that Graetz's ideas have become current intellectual coin. 

Graetz's warm-hearted treatment of and his pride in the Jewish 
scholars of the past has certainly coincided with the efforts to revive 
Jewish culture on American soil, and may, in part, have been a 
stimulus to these efforts. . . . The sense of optimism which pervades 
his work and his faith in the future of the Jewish people have been a 
source of perennial encouragement. Graetz has undoubtedly been 
a builder of American Israel. 

On Graetz's personal contacts with American Jewry during 
his lifetime very little has come to light. For this reason, a 
personal letter written in English by the historian in 1890 and 
addressed to an otherwise unknown officer of an unnamed society 
in Dallas that had conferred honorary membership on Graetz 
may be of some interest. 29 It may possibly even lead to the 
discovery of other Graetz letters to America which have re- 
mained hidden until now. 3 

a 9 Autograph letter in the author's collection of Jewish autographs, Appendix IV. 
A facsimile reproduction appeared in Historia Judaica, III (1941), facing p. 54. 

a There is, however, reason to doubt that other such letters are extant, if more 
were written at all. None are found in the Felscnthal collection, or in the American 
Jewish Archives, or in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America Library. 
Prior to 1891 there were very few correspondents in America who could possibly 
have exchanged letters with Graetz. 


Moritz Steinschneider, "father of Jewish bibliography/' the 
fiftieth anniversary of whose death was commemorated in 1957, 
had, among other students who later came to America, one 
who continued his work in our country and earned for himself 
the name of the "American Steinschneider": Alexander Marx. 
Marx devoted a number of publications to his revered teacher, 
and from these Steinschneider's importance for Jewish bib- 
liography in America can be sensed. Although this particular 
topic has not been treated specifically, 31 the renowned bib- 
liographer nevertheless left his mark on American Jewish 
scholarship, through his writings as well as his pupils. Moreover, 
his private library, his literary apparatus, and his unpublished 
manuscripts and correspondence form one of the most treasured 
collections in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 
New York. It seems that Steinschneider was the only one among 
the European scholars mentioned whose work found recognition 
in the form of academic degrees bestowed on him honoris causa 
by American institutions of higher learning (Hebrew Union 
College and Columbia University). 32 

In his correspondence with Rabbi Felsenthal in Chicago, 
Steinschneider' s interest in the progress of American Jewish 
scholarship can be detected long before Jewish bibliography was 
fostered in the United States by his own students. As early as 
February 5, 1883, he asked for an announcement in an American 
journal calling on Jewish authors to send him copies of their 
published works for review in his journal of Jewish bibliography, 
Hamazkir. 3 3 

s* Cf. Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore, pp. 346 f., note I, with bib- 

3* Guido Kisch, In Search of Freedom, pp. 8 1 f. 

33 Letter (post card) of February 5, 1883, in the Felsenthal collection, Appendix V; 
cf. Kober, PAJHS, XLV (1955), p. 127, where, however, this interesting passage 
was omitted. 



Another letter, dated one year later, contains news of the 
discontinuance of Hamazkir and information on its editor's plans 
for its resumption. "Since number 126 no issue of Hamazkir 
has been published. If I should continue it in 1885, ^ w ^ not 
be printed by Benzian [the publisher], who has systematically 
verschlemilt [neglected] it." 34 The same letter speaks of the 
imminent death of Steinschneider 5 s son Albert, "whom you 
[Felsenthal] saw in Cleveland." Other letters extant in the 
aforementioned correspondence of Steinschneider might possibly 
yield additional information of historical interest for American 
Jewish scholarship. 

"The history of thought, of learning, and of the various 
sciences is usually conceived in terms of the ideas and contribu- 
tions of outstanding individuals, and those who are eager to 
relate these contributions to some more general factors, are 
inclined to stress the impact of an individual's nationality, his 
real or imagined class status, the 'spirit of the time/ or the 
'social situation, 3 whatever that may mean." 35 Such considera- 
tions, with appropriate modification, may certainly be applicable 
to Jewish Wissenschaftsgeschichte also. That in many instances 
they may be fruitfully supplemented by a study of certain more 
modest and prosaic, and therefore not decisive, factors may well 
be demonstrated by the abo\e exposition. 

34 Letter (post card) of August 5, 1884, in the Felsenthal collection, Appendix VI. 
No. 126 of TDrDn, Hebraeische Bibliographic, XXI, dated November-December, 
1881-82, was issued in March, 1883 ("ausgegeben Marz 1883")- No further issues 
were published by Steinschneider. 

35 Paul O. Kristeller, "The University of Bologna and the Renaissance," Studi e 
Memorie per la Storia dell 9 Universita di Bologna, New Series, I (Bologna, 1956), 313. 



Appendix I* 

Anonymous letter (by %unz) to the Editor of Israels Herold. 

Berlin, den 30. April 1849. 

Sie verlangen von mir Berichte iiber judische Zustande in einer Zeit, 
wo Niemand Jude ist, und Niemand Christ, wo vielleicht die Juden 
mehr Sympathie fur den Papst Pius IX. fuhlen, der nun mit Hilfe 
der Franzosen auf fast ganz friedliche Weise in Rom einzieht und 
Amnestic gibt, als mancher Katholik, und mancher Christ ein warmerer 
Verehrer der Juden Jacobi, als seiner Heiligen ist! Wo unsere Briider 
in Ungarn das Tornister statt das Zidakel umhangen, und selbst 
Bremens Mauern nicht dariiber zusammenstiirzen, dass Juden in 
ihrer Mitte aufgenommen werden und Burger sind ! ? 

Wer kummert sich zum Beispiel jetzt darum, wenn die reiche 
Gemeinde Berlins aus elender Knickerei einem alten, um die Wissen- 
schaft hochverdienten Manne, der Israels Zier ist und auf den es 
stolz sein darf, wenn es einem Zunz den kleinen Jahresgehalt entzieht 
und der Noth preisgibt, wenn es nicht hochherzige Freunde gabe, 
die solche Schmach gern aus ihren eigenen Mitteln tilgen? Berlin 
wird weiter belagert, wieder wird eine vom Volk erwahlte zweite 
Kammer aufgelost, wieder fallen dem Moloch-Konigsthum einige 
Menschenopfer, mit Blut wird ja der Purpur aufgefrischt. In Schleswig 
kampft man fort ob deutsch, ob danisch; indess Deutschland selbst um 
einen Konig bettelt. Der Konig von Preussen hat die Krone definitiv 

Ueber das tapfere Ungar-Volk erhalten Sie gewiss von Wien 
bessere Nachrichten, da Sie aber dieses durch Herrn D's. Giite friiher 
als die Post erhalten durften, will ich Ihnen mittheilen, dass ich aus 
zuverlassiger Quelle weiss, es werden an 100,000 Russen in 
Siebenbiirgen und durch Galizien iiber die Karpaten einriicken und 
Radetzky soil mit einem Theil seiner Armee durch Steyermark 
herbeieilen, nachdem der Frieden in Italien zu weit herabgestimmten 

* The footnotes to sections I to III contain information as to where the originals of the following 
letters may be found, or, if originals have not been preserved, the journals in which the letters 
were published. 

These letters are exact copies; even the antiquated orthography of the originals has been 



Forderungen (von 213 Millionen zu 80 Millionen Franken) 
abgeschlossen 1st. Auf diese Weise diirfte das tapfere Magyaren Volk 
trotz aller Opfer und Anstrengung, trotz ihren wahren Heldenkampfen 
und neuen glanzenden Siegen endlich erliegen miissen. Bei so bewegtem 
politischen Leben, wozu noch wichtige Handelsnachrichten kommen, 
da das bedeutende Steigen der Seide-, das Fallen der Getreide-Preise 
und die allgemeine Geschaftsstockung und Geldnoth; bei dem Allem 
wollen Sie noch Nachrichten das Judenthum betrefiend? ! Entschul- 
digen Sie, ich kann damit nicht dienen, doch will ich Ihnen die 
Zeitung des Judenthums und den Orient nachstens per Steamer 
senden; hier werden sie ohnedem wenig gelesen. 

Ihr etc. 

Appendix II 

Rabbis Bernhard Felsenthal^ Kaufmann Kokler, Liebmann Adler, and Mr. 
Julius Rosenthal, all of Chicago, to Leopold %unz* 

Chicago, 111., 20. Juli 1874. 
Herrn Dr. L. Zunz in Berlin. 

Hochgeehrter Herr ! 

Veranlasst durch Ihren bevorstehenden 80. Geburtstag (am 10. Aug. 
1874) mochten die erg[ebenst] U[nterzeichneten] , wenn auch durch 
ein schwaches Wort bloss, Ihnen hiermit die herzlichsten Gluckwunsche 
darbringen, und Ihnen dadurch ein Zeugniss ablegen, dass auch in 
gar weit entlegenen Gegenden der Erde Leute leben, die sich dankbar 
als Ihre Schiller erkennen und bekennen. 

Inniger Dank sei dem allgutigen Gott, der Sie uns so lange geistig 
riistig erhalten hat, und der Ihnen die Kraft verliehen, auch im 
hohen Greisenalter noch die "Wissenschaft des Judenthums" zu 
pflegen, ihren Inhalt zu vertiefen und zu berichtigen, ihre Granzen 
zu erweitern und auszudehnen. Moge Er, der Allvater, Sie noch 
recht lange uns erhalten, und es Ihnen ermoglichen, noch viele, viele 
Beitrage zur Weiterfuhrung der jxidpschen] Wissenschaft zu liefern! 

Mit der vollsten subjectivsten Hingebung und mit der lautersten 
Objectivitat in der Behandlung Ihrer Untersuchungen haben Sie, 



hochgeehrter Herr, seit mehr denn einem halben Jahrhundert auf 
Ihrem Spezialgebiet erfolgreich gearbeitet. Sie haben gleichgesinnten 
Mitstrebenden sowohl wie nachgebornen Jiingern den Weg und das 
Ziel gezeigtj und sich als Bahnbrecher in fruher unbetretenen Gebieten 
und als Herrscher in denselben einen Namen erworben, der noch in 
spaten Jahrhunderten mit Ehre und Dank genannt werden wird. 

Sie haben bereits vor 56 Jahren (1818) "Etwas iiber die 
rabb[inische] Literatur" vielversprechend veroffentlicht; haben 1823 
durch Ihre "Zeitschrift" den Grund gelegt zur "Wissenschaft des 
Judenthums"; 1832 durch Ihr klass[isches] Werk iiber "Die gottesd- 
[ienstlichen] Vortrage der Juden" Ordnung und Licht in ein bis 
dahin wirres Chaos gebracht; 1837 durch Ihre "Namen der Juden" 
Ihrem eigenen Namen neuen Anspruch verliehen darauf, dass sein 
Trager in Tiichtigkeit und Griindlichkeit seiner Forschungen in erster 
Reihe stehe; Sie haben ferner 1845 durch Ihre Schrift "Zur Geschichte 
und Literatur" das Wissen um judische Dinge ganz bedeutend geklart 
und gemehrt; 1855 durch Ihre "Synagogale Poesie des Mittelalters," 
1859 durch Ihre "Ritus des synagogalen Gottesdienstes," 1865 durch 
Ihre "Literaturgeschichte der synag[ogalen] Poesie" die Kunde und 
die Erkenntniss der relig[iosen] Poesie Israels fast bis zur Vollendung 
gefuhrt; und haben noch vor 2 Jahren (1872) durch ein nach den 
"Monatstagen des Kalenderjahres" geordnetes Verzeichniss von 
Sterbetagen einen neuen Beweis geliefert von dem unermudlichen 
Sammlerfleisse, dem ordnenden Sinne, und der allseitigen Griind- 
lichkeit, die Sie in Ihrer ganzen langen literarpschen] Laufbahn 
ausgezeichnet haben. Sie haben ferner seit vielen Jahrzehnten in 
verschiedenen Zeitschriften zerstreute Abhandlungen den wissens- 
durstigen Jiingern dargeboten, die ganz entschieden bleibendes 
Interesse haben, wie ja jiingst noch in der Zeitschrift der Deutschen 
Morgenl[andischen] Gesellschaft, u. s. w. 

Und wir, Ihre dankbaren Schiiler, die wir geschopft aus Ihrem 
Wissensborne, die wir uns so oft gelabt an der geistigen Nahrung, die 
Sie uns bereitet, wir sollten den Tag gleichgiiltig und gedankenlos 
voriiber gehen lassen, an dem Sie vor 80 Jahren das Licht der Welt 

Nein, das konnen, das wollen wir nicht. Wir folgen bloss dem 
Drange unserer Herzen, wenn wir Ihnen, hochverehrter Lehrer und 
Mei$ter, bei dieser Gelegenheit ein Wort der Anerkennung und der 
Dankbarkeit aussprechen, und wenn wir in Verbindung damit 
wiederholt dem innig empfundenen Wunsche Ausdruck leihen, dass 
es Ihnen noch eine lange Reihe von Jahren vergonnt sein moge, 



frisch, riistig, und an Ergebnissen reich das Feld der jiidischen Wissen- 
schaft welter anzubauen. 

In Hochachtung und Ergebenheit verharren, hochgeehrter Herr 

Ihre allezeit dankbaren 

Appendix III 

Leopold %unz to Rabbis Felsenthal, Kohler, Adler, and Mr. Rosenthal, 
all of Chicago. 

An die Herren Dr. Felsenthal, Kohler, Adler, 
Rosenthal in Chicago. 

Sehr geehrte Herren! 

Ihre Gluckwiinsche zum 10. August haben mich erfreut, aber Ihre 
iibertriebenen Lobpreisungen mich beschamt; wie soil man von den 
Helden der Literatur, der Astronomic, der Dichtkunst, wie (iberhaupt 
von denen reden, die mit Thaten und Schriften der Menschheit 
fuhrend und leuchtend vorangeschritten, wenn ein so kleines Licht 
so gepriesen und geschmeichelt wird? Und grade jetzt fuhle ich 
Staub meine Ohnmacht; acht Tage nach dem Eingange Ihres 
Schreibens starb in meinen Armen meine geliebte Frau, mit der ich 
52 Jahre und 100 Tage in glucklicher Ehe gelebt: mein Stolz und 
meine Liebe sanken in das Grab und hinterliessen mir nur Thranen. 
Wenn mir im Leben Ehre und Beifall zu Theil geworden, hat es mich 
mehr um meiner seligen Frau als um meinetwillen erfreut; ach, 
das ist nun alles auf immer dahin! In mein Buch "Die Sterbetage" 
muss nun fiir den 18. August auch der Name meiner Adelheid einge- 
ruckt werden. 

Sie sehen, meine Herren, dass ich jetzt wenig geschickt zu einer 
belehrenden oder unterhaltenden Correspondenz bin; von einer 



einzigen Empfindung in Besitz genommen, straubt sich das Gemiith 
gegen den freien Gebrauch seiner Krafte. Daher wird es gerathen 
seyn, diese Klage-Schrift zu beendigen, und indem ich nochmals fur 
Ihre liebenswerthe Freundlichkeit meinen Dank ausspreche, fuge ich 
noch den Wunsch hinzu, dass Sie und die Ihnen nahe stehen gesund 
und glucklich bleiben. n*a rWD 1J7 

Hochachtungsvoll und ergebenst 


Berlin, 24. August 1874 
Auguststrasse 60 

Appendix IV 

Heinrich Graetz to Mr. Ben W. Austin, Dallas. 

Breslau 28 Febr. 1890 
Dear Sir, 

I beg to express my deepest gratitude for the honour your Society 
has bestowed on me, electing me their honorary member. According 
to your wisch, I send my portrait. Now you would not have any use 
of my literary works, as all of them are written in German. I schall 
take the honour to send the englisch translation of my "History of 
the Jews," as soon as it will be completely finisched. 

Very thankfully 

Prof. DR. H. GRAETZ 
Mr. Ben W, 



Appendix V 

Moritz Steinschneider to Bernkard FelsenthaL 

Rosenstr. 2. 
Berlin 5. II. [i8]8s 

Sehr geehrter Herr! 

Von der H\ebraisckeri\ B[ibliographie] istN. 1 25 im December erschienen, 
N. 126 soil in 8 Tagen erscheinen, fur die Regelmassigkeit bemiihe 
ich mich vergebens durch meine punktliche Arbeit obwohl ich 
jetzt mit einer grossen Arbeit liber die hebr[aischen] Ubersetzungen 
des Mittelalters beschaftigt bin, was aber unter uns bleibt. In folge 
dessen ist auch das Supplement] zu Benjacob nur bis Ende 
Buchst[aben] K redigiert. Auf Manuscripte nehme ich natiirlich 
Riicksicht; ich hatte Benjacob gerathen, Manuscripte iiberhaupt 
nicht aufzunehmen, da ihm selbst die wichtigsten Gatalfoge] nicht 
zuganglich waren. Schriften nach 1862 sind ausgeschlossen (mit 
wenigen Ausnahmen). ^59? ' liest auch mein Catalog. Jiidpsche] 
Typographic] in Ersch und Grfuber] ist in der III. Section des 
Gatal. Bodl. vollstandig umgearbeitet. Ich wurde mebie Vorlesungen 
xiber judfische] Handschriftenkunde und manches Andere herausgeben, 
wenn ich Zuhorer hatte, die Zeit und Lust haben zu helfen. Ich leite 
eine Schule von 350 Schiilerinnen und unterrichte taglich 2 Vor- 
mittagsstunden, bin auch bald 67 Jahre alt. Durch Mitteilungen 
liber amerikanpsche] Schriften, welche bisher nicht im TDTDrr 
vorkamen, werden Sie verbinden Ihren 



Mochten Sie vielleicht in einem amerik[anischen] Blatte Autoren 
veranlassen, mir Recenspons]- Exemplare zu schicken. 

Herrn Dr. Felsenthal 
in Chicago, 111. 
237 S. Desplaines St 



Appendix VI 

Moritz Steinschneider to Bernhard FelsenthaL 

Rosenstrasse 2. 5. VIII. [i8]84. 
Sehr geehrter Herr ! 

Ich werde nicht verfehlen, Ihre Gratulation an Zunz am 10. personlich 
zu ubergeben. Ich hatte schon langst Ihr freundlpches Schreiben] 
vom 29. VI. beantwortet, wenn nicht amtliche u[nd] personliche 
Riicksichten meinen schriftlichen Verkehr gehemmt batten, unter 
Anderm muss ich taglich einer Trauerbotschaft entgegensehen. Mein 
Sohn Albert, den Sie in Cleveland gesehen habe[n], leidet an unheil- 
barer Schwindsucht, er ist augenblicklich in der Wasserheilanstalt 
meines Vetters Dr. Alois Brecher in Eichwald. Gott behiite Sie u[nd] 
die Ihren vor Triibsal! Seit n. 126 ist von Town nichts erschienen, 
und wenn ich ihn 1885 wieder fortsetzen sollte, so wird er nicht bei 
Benzian erscheinen, der ihn systematise!! verschlemilt hat. Ich habe 
Ihnen fiir verschiedene Zusendungen zu danken, die ich seiner Zeit 
benutzen werde. Augenblicklich bin ich mit einer grosseren Arbeit 
beschaftigt, die bis December fertig sein muss und mich von allem 
Anderen abzieht. Ihnen zu antworten rechne ich mir zur Pflicht, und 
zeichne in aufrichtiger Gewogenheit und Hochachtung 

An Dr. B. Felsenthal 
in Chicago 

237 South Desplaines Street 


Some Conclusions About Rebecca Gratz 


XXEBECCA GRATZ remains one of the distinguished 
personages of American Jewish history. She was well-known 
and respected in her generation and, even today, stands out as 
a figure of some importance among American Jewish women. 
In spite of her rather high contemporary evaluation, Rebecca 
Gratz was not a great woman. This conclusion is based on an 
intensive study of her correspondence, of which some fifteen 
hundred letters are extant, as well as on other contemporary 
sources, including congregational and organizational records. 
Her position in her home community of Philadelphia and in 
American Judaism at large is firmly based on fact, while her 
popular position is founded, for the most part, on the unverified 
and probably unverifiable allegation that she was the prototype 
of Sir Walter Scott's Rebecca, the Jewish heroine of Ivanhoe. 
She was not a great person, for her accomplishments were 
significant neither in the realm of ideas nor in the realm of 
social innovation. Her importance rests on two facts: she 

Dr. Joseph R. Rosenbloom is the spiritual leader of Congregation Adath Israel, 
Lexington, Ky. 

This essay epitomizes the author's doctoral dissertation, "And She Had Compas- 
sion: The Life and Times of Rebecca Gratz," written in January, 1957, under 
Dr. Jacob R. Marcus at the Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion in 
Cincinnati. The original dissertation was based on a study of Rebecca Gratz's 
manuscript letters, both published and unpublished, found in the following depos- 
itories: The American Jewish Historical Society, The Library of Congress, the 
Library of the University of North Carolina, the New York Historical Society, 
and the Henry Joseph Collection at the American Jewish Archives. 



introduced into her particular religious group needed institu- 
tions which had previously been established in the general 
community ; and, as current research attests, she stood practically 
alone as an American Jewish woman of prominence in her 

Miss Gratz was a native-born daughter of one of American 
Jewry's most prominent families. The Gratzes had been well- 
known and prosperous merchants and landholders in eighteenth- 
century America. Rebecca's father, Michael, and her uncle, 
Barnard Gratz, were among the founders of Philadelphia's 
first synagogue, Mikveh Israel. Her brothers were active in 
the political, cultural, and economic affairs of that city over a 
period of many decades. If, as a family, they did not attain 
greatness, they did represent Jews who were well integrated 
into, and accepted by, the most socially prominent elements of 
the Philadelphia community. The Gratzes became a symbol 
of gentility and acceptability for American Jewry. Rebecca 
Gratz, the only outstanding woman of her family, became the 
feminine symbol, not only for the Gratz family and for Phila- 
delphia Jewry, but for all American Jewry during her lifetime. 
Her fame resulted, to a considerable extent, from the absence 
of others to fill the r61e which she assumed a r6le which had 
to be filled by a lesser personage, since a greater one did not 
live or had not yet been discovered. The wealth of material 
concerning Rebecca Gratz has made her easily "discoverable." 
Miss Gratz's prime interest, throughout her lifetime, was 
her immediate family. To a lesser degree, she was concerned 
with her home community. She evinced little interest in the 
greater issues of her time except as they affected her family. 
She was born at the very beginning of the national period of 
the United States, and her span of years included the Civil 



War, the greatest crisis through which America had yet passed. 
While no person is an island unto himself, Rebecca Gratz 
managed, from all appearances, to remain quite removed from 
most of the vital international and national events of her day. 

During the eighty-eight years of her lifetime (1781-1869), 
Europe experienced the French Revolution, the rise and fall 
of Napoleon, and the struggle between liberalism and reaction. 
Rebecca Gratz was only a child of eight when the Bastille fell. 
Still, it is noteworthy that the climactic events of the French 
Revolution found no mention in her letters. Nor was there a 
word about Napoleon Bonaparte, although she did speak of 
the Bonapartes, Joseph and his family, who resided briefly in 
Philadelphia after Napoleon's fall. Nothing, moreover, in her 
letters reflects the furor caused in 1850 by America's commercial 
treaty with a Switzerland which refused to exempt American 
Jews from the anti-Jewish restrictions prevalent at the time in 
the Swiss cantons. There was, furthermore, in her letters no 
echo of the notorious Mortara affair of 1858, an affair in which 
Edgar Mortara, a Jewish child of Bologna, Italy, was abducted 
and baptized with the approval of papal authorities. 

Rebecca Gratz's lifetime also covered a period of tremendous 
national growth and development in America. The country 
spread, during those years, from the East coast to the West, 
and from Canada to Mexico, The American population in- 
creased from 4,000,000 to almost 50,000,000; the Republic 
was involved in three major wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican 
War, and the Civil War. Other issues of wide-reaching signif- 
icance were raised at this time: territorial rights; new states and 
slavery; the development, growth, and decline of many great 
national political parties, such as the disappearance of the 
Federalists, the decline of the Whigs, the growth of the Dem- 
ocratic party, the rise of the Republican party and of the 
American (or "Know Nothing") party; the troubles on the 


Barbary coast; the great growth in industry and commerce; 
and the abolitionist movement. 

While Rebecca Gratz was surely affected by these devel- 
opments, her anxiety over them was peripheral and superficial, 
limited to their immediate effect upon her family, friends, and 
community. This was exemplified, on the national scene, by 
her concern over the affairs of Henry Clay who, as a rather 
close friend of Benjamin, her brother in Lexington, Kentucky, 
appeared frequently in her correspondence. In contrast, one 
looks in vain for any mention of Abraham Lincoln in the same 
correspondence. Neither the abolitionist movement nor the 
battle for women's rights attracted her attention to any signif- 
icant degree. Miss Gratz 3 s lack of involvement in most of the 
vital interests and developments of her time deprived her of 
any imposing historical importance. 

On rare occasions, she did succeed, to be sure, in transcending 
the parochial limits which her life and character had imposed 
on her. Such an occasion was the anti-Catholic rioting in 
Philadelphia in 1844, rioting in which dozens of people were 
killed or maimed. Miss Gratz wrote at that time to her brother 
Benjamin in Lexington, Kentucky, that 

the present outbreak is an attack on the Catholic Church, and there 
is so much violent animosity between that sect and the Protestants 
that unless the strong arm of power is raised to sustain the provisions 
of the Constitution of the U. S., securing to every citizen the privilege 
of worshipping God according to his own conscience, America will 
be no longer the happy asylum of the oppressed and the secure dwelling 
place of religion. Intolerance has been too prevalent of late, and 
many of the clergy of different denominations are chargable with its 
growth. The whole spirit and office of religion is to make men merciful 
and humble and just. If such teaching was preached by the pastors to 
their own congregations and the charge of others left to their own 
clergy, God would be better served and human society governed more 
in accordance to His holy commandments. 



Such eloquence on her part was, however, as we have said, 
exceedingly rare. 

It was her role in the Jewish community of Philadelphia 
a r61e which, of course, affected many other American 
Jews that gave Rebecca Gratz the importance that she 
had. She merits mention in general American history only 
by virtue of her position as one of the few outstanding Jewesses 
whom this country had produced. Her historical importance, 
therefore, must be recognized in relative, rather than in absolute, 

To what do we owe Rebecca Gratz's impressive and signif- 
icant r&le, even in this limited sense? Her significance emanated 
from two facets of her life: her social position in the Jewish and 
non-Jewish communities, and her accomplishments, which had 
their most direct effect on the Jewish community of her city. 
The social life of the Jewish community of Philadelphia in the 
early decades of Miss Gratz's life centered chiefly about one 
institution the Sephardic synagogue, Mikveh Israel. Here the 
Gratz family's involvement was almost as old as the congrega- 
tion itself, and here the Gratzes enjoyed great prominence. 
Rebecca's father and uncle, Michael and Barnard, served as 
officers as well as members of the congregation's Board. Her 
brother, Simon, was a member of the Board as early as 1810, 
and another brother, Hyman, held an official position in the 
congregation for more than forty years. The Gratzes' activity 
in the affairs of the synagogue, together with their relative 
economic well-being and their relationship with the non-Jewish 
community, assured them social prominence among their 

Rebecca Gratz's status and the range of her contacts in the 
non-Jewish community were also impressive. They included 
every phase of Philadelphia's most distinguished society. Her 
activity in this realm depended, to a large degree, on her 



brothers, themselves active in both cultural and political circles. 
Joseph Gratz was particularly interested in politics. Jacob Gratz 
was one of the first directors of the Philadelphia Athenaeum, 
founded in 1814, and delivered the first report to its Board oi 
Directors. Among its other founders were such outstanding 
Philadelphia leaders as William Tilghman, Chief Justice of the 
Pennsylvania Supreme Court; James Mease, the famous physi- 
cian; Thomas I. Wharton, a noted lawyer and author; and 
Nicholas Biddle, later the president of the Bank of the United 
States and Andrew Jackson's bete noire. Hyman and Simon 
Gratz were among the earliest subscribers to the Academy oi 
Fine Arts. An early list containing their names includes also 
those of Thomas Jefferson and another Revolutionary political 
leader, Francis Hopkinson. Hyman was director of the Academy 
from 1836 to 1857, its treasurer from 1841 to 1857, and, finally, 
its president. By means of such associations Rebecca Gratz 
was enabled to play a notable part in community affairs. She 
participated, for example, in the fund-raising program for the 
rebuilding of the Fine Arts Academy, which had been destroyed 
by fire. Her associates in this work included Mrs. George 
MifHin Dallas, whose husband was a Vice President of the 
United States, a United States Senator, and a mayor of Phila- 
delphia. She was friendly also with Mrs. Henry Dilwood Gilpin, 
whose husband served as a United States Attorney General. 
Another close friend was Mrs. William Meredith, wife of a 
prominent lawyer and bank president. 

Early in her life, Rebecca Gratz's activities in charitable 
institutions brought her into contact with other outstanding 
Philadelphia families. In her twenties, she was already interested 
in Philadelphia's Female Association for the Relief of Women 
and Children in Reduced Circumstances and in the Orphan 
Society, or Asylum. With her on the Board of the Female 
Association were eight other Jewish women, and she served as 


secretary of this organization for a time. Far more energy was 
expended by her on the Orphan Society, a group associated 
with one of the most fashionable and influential churches of 
Philadelphia, the Second Presbyterian. Rebecca Gratz served 
as a Board member of the Orphan Society from its inception 
in 1814, and was its secretary from 1819 until her death in 

Miss Gratz's work with important Philadelphia charities also 
brought her into contact with a number of distinguished per- 
sonages: Mrs. John Sergeant, whose husband was a leading 
Philadelphia lawyer and a congressman; the family of Prince 
Achille Murat; Dr. John Syng Dorsey, a prominent physician; 
Dr. James Rush, author and physician; and the prominent 
Unitarian clergyman, the Reverend William Henry Furness. 
Particularly in her youth, Miss Gratz maintained many close 
and cherished friendships with literary figures. Her closest friend 
in her late teens and early twenties was Maria Fenno, daughter 
of John Fenno, a prominent newspaper publisher. The two 
girls enjoyed the company of such promising literati as Wash- 
ington Irving; Joseph Dennie, the first editor of The Port Folio ; 
Samuel Ewing; John E. Hall; Gouverneur Kemble; James K. 
Paulding; Henry Brevoort; Thomas I. Wharton; and Joseph 
Hopkinson. From these friendships developed several of the 
most interesting, if exaggerated, aspects of the Rebecca Gratz 
story. Samuel Ewing, who quite seriously entertained literary 
ambitions, but ultimately became a fairly successful attorney, 
is generally and frequently identified as the object of Rebecca 
Gratz's only romance, a romance which was presumedly 
thwarted by their religious differences. While there is no indica- 
tion of a close relationship with any man other than Ewing, 
there is very little evidence to support the supposed intensity of 
their relationship. We have no proof that they were in love, 
and we find no intimation of Rebecca's having rejected Ewing 



or having had the occasion to^reject him on any grounds at 
all, religious or otherwise. 

Washington Irving is the central figure in the oft-repeated 
legend that Rebecca Gratz was the prototype of Sir Walter 
Scott's Rebecca of York, the beautiful Jewess in his novel, 
Ivanhoe. While this identification was made by friends of Rebecca 
Gratz at the time of the publication of the book, there is, again, 
nothing to substantiate such a claim. The tradition that the 
fictional Rebecca of York is to be identified with the historical 
Rebecca of Philadelphia arose from the friendship between 
Irving and Scott Washington Irving met with Scott in 1818. 
It is assumed that, at this time, Scott was planning Ivanhoe. 
When, as the legend would have it, Irving told him about 
Rebecca Gratz and her romance with Samuel Ewing, a non-Jew, 
Scott made a central figure of the Jewess, based her on Miss 
Gratz, and incorporated her into his book. We find, however, 
nothing in the letters of Miss Gratz and nothing in the writings 
of either Scott or Irving to lend any truth to this legend. Yet it is 
for this reason that Rebecca Gratz is best known. 

It was through Rebecca Gratz that Thomas Sully, a contem- 
porary artist, was introduced to Philadelphia, at the request of 
Washington Irving, their mutual friend. Miss Gratz's friendship 
with Sully extended over several decades, and in 1834 Miss 
Gratz sought to aid Sully's son to find employment as a portrait 
painter in Kentucky* 

Miss Gratz's social circle was among the finest in Philadelphia. 
Her associates had respect and appreciation for her, and accepted 
her as a Jewess who was proud of her heritage. On occasion, 
her hostesses would take special pains to serve food which was 
in keeping with the Jewish dietary laws. Such a social position 
in the non-Jewish community served to maintain her stature 
among her Jewish friends. This station tended also to ease the 
integration of other Jews into Philadelphia society, Rebecca 



Gratz having presented a fine and dignified example of the 
cultured Jewess. v 

Miss Grate's communal efforts were, for the most part, con- 
centrated in the Jewish community. A major exception was her 
devoted service to the Orphan Society. Her efforts in communal 
activities, particularly among Jews, increased as she grew older 
and withdrew more and more from the social life of her city. 
Within the Jewish community, she was the leading force in a 
whole series of communal enterprises. Here she served as the 
motivator and rallying point about which a necessary organiza- 
tion could come into being. Through her efforts directly, and 
through others, the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, the 
Jewish Foster Home, the Hebrew Sunday School, and the Sewing 
and Fuel Societies were initiated, filling hitherto unattended 
needs of the Jewish community. To each of these institutions 
she brought extensive prior experience. We may be sure that 
these organizations met much resistance, as people in those days 
were loath to spend money for social-welfare purposes. It was 
only after seven years of urging that the Jewish Foster Home 
came into being. When it was finally established in 1855, 
Rebecca Gratz at seventy-four was still considered vigorous 
enough to be offered the position of its First Directress. This 
she declined, accepting that of Second Directress. 

Through the efforts of Rebecca Gratz, the Jewish community 
not only became aware of its communal responsibilities, but 
also actually strove to fulfill them- Philadelphia's growth pre- 
sented many problems, due particularly to the ever-increasing 
immigrant population. The Quakers had long ago set an 
excellent pattern of communal responsibility, a model which 
was to guide many other religious groups. The relation of the 
Jewish Foster Home to the Orphan Society is as readily apparent 
as that of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society to the Female 
Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced 


Circumstances, an organization in which Rebecca Gratz was 
also active, as we have noted. It is apparent, therefore, that her 
contribution as an innovator was limited. She put into practice 
in the Jewish community those patterns which were already in 
operation in the general community endeavors in which she 
had taken a considerable and significant part. Her own major 
contribution was her ability to extend to Jewish communal needs 
her notable leadership and almost endless energy and resource- 
fulness. This was true, too, of her accomplishment in establishing 
a Sunday School for the Jewish children of Philadelphia. 

The Sunday School movement had been initiated in the 
non-Jewish community to educate poor working-class children 
who had no other opportunity for general educational and 
religious training. Somewhat later, the movement changed its 
emphasis and sought to combat the secularizing tendency of 
the day schools as they came more and more under public 
control. The establishment of a Jewish Sunday School was 
undertaken in 1838 by Rebecca Gratz because no one else in 
Philadelphia was adequately fulfilling the religious needs of 
Jewish children, Isaac Leeser's attempt in 1835 to establish a 
Jewish day school having proved too ambitious for success. 
Moreover, a school conducted for two or three hours every 
Sunday was more in consonance with the prevalent non-Jewish 
pattern of religious education. Other similarities between Miss 
Gratz's Sunday School and the non-Jewish Sunday schools were 
apparent in that both provided for children on a community- 
wide basis, without cost to the children or to their families and 
without denominational affiliation. In time, to be sure, the 
Christian Sunday schools became affiliated with denominations, 
or were established by denominations, but the school founded 
by Rebecca Gratz remained open to any Jewish child in the 
city and never limited its enrollment to the children of a partic- 
ular Jewish congregation. 



While the Christian Sunday School movement is generally 
acknowledged as having originated in England, its center for 
many years in the United States was Philadelphia. Rebecca 
Gratz was quite frank about her dependence upon the Christian 
Sunday school pattern and, for a time, when no Jewish textbooks 
were available, she was forced to use at least one of the Christian 
Sunday school textbooks. In the area of education, as in other 
areas, she perceived a serious need in the Jewish community, 
and she set out to fill it. The established congregations were 
not providing for the education of their children, nor for those 
whose parents could afford neither congregational affiliation 
nor private tutors. In 1818, her first attempt, its nature hazy 
and its basis limited, proved to be abortive. Only one of her 
letters referring to the school is extant. She did succeed, however, 
twenty years later. It is interesting to note her advanced age at 
the time when she undertook the responsibility of this new and 
exacting venture. Not only was she instrumental in establishing 
and directing this school for many years, but she also stimulated 
the production of textbooks for Jewish children. Her efforts led 
directly to the establishment of similar schools in Charleston, 
Savannah, New York, and, probably, Richmond. 

Religion in general and Judaism in particular constituted 
an intimate part of Rebecca Gratz 5 s daily existence. Association 
with the synagogue was a deeply ingrained trait of her family, 
a family which had been instrumental in establishing and 
sustaining Congregation Mikveh Israel in its formative years. 
Miss Gratz followed the traditional interpretation of Judaism. 
She observed the dietary laws not only at home, but also when 
dining with others, and her Gentile friends, out of respect to 
this lady, served foods which would not be offensive to her. 
She was punctilious in the observance of the Jewish holidays, 
and looked forward with joy to those occasions on which the 
members of her family might come together. The Sabbath, 



too, was observed traditionally, and Rebecca Gratz refrained 
from writing and engaging in many other activities. 

The extensive correspondence with her Christian sister-in-law, 
Maria Gist Gratz, Benjamin's first wife, illustrates Rebecca 
Gratz's deep appreciation for other religions. She was quite 
liberal in her approach to Christianity, although she would 
countenance no weakening of traditional Judaism. The slacken- 
ing observance of Jewish practices in her day distressed her, as 
did the development of "unorthodox" Jewish practices at 
Charleston's Congregation Beth Elohim in 1824. As under- 
standing as she was of the diversity of religious expression in 
America, she, nevertheless, vigorously opposed attempts at 
converting Jews to Christianity. Frequently she noted occasions 
when persons tried to convert her. Her response was a pride in 
her own religion and, not infrequently, a contempt for persons 
who sought to convert others. 

Part of Rebecca Gratz's fervor and devotion for Judaism is 
seen in her intense opposition to intermarriage. When Benjamin, 
her, youngest brother, announced his intention to marry Maria 
Gist, of Lexington, Kentucky, Rebecca made known in definite 
terms her opposition to the match, because of the couple's 
religious differences. She felt that such a dissimilarity between 
mates might offend one or both partners, that it demanded too 
great a sacrifice from the partner who felt obliged to abandon 
or de-emphasize his or her former religion. She feared, too, the 
deleterious effect upon the children of such unions. Her views 
on this subject did not thwart Benjamin Gratz's choice, for 
both of his wives (he married Ann Boswell after Maria died) 
were Christians and all his children were reared as Christians, 
although Benjamin himself never converted to Christianity. 
Miss Gratz, a we have indicated above, appears finally to have 
accepted the marriage to Maria Gist and to have cultivated 
Maria's friendship. 



Intermarriage was not foreign to other members of her 
immediate family. Her mother's sister, Shinah Simon, married 
Dr. Nicholas Schuyler. Simon Gratz, her eldest brother, also 
married or at least lived with a Christian woman. His children 
appear to have been reared as Christians, although Louisa, one 
of his daughters, embraced Judaism in 1851. Another of his 
daughters, Mary, was denied burial in the Mikveh Israel 
cemetery, since she was not considered to have been a practicing 
Jewess. Throughout her lifetime, Miss Gratz's opposition to 
intermarriage remained strong. With reference, however, to her 
brothers 5 relationships with non-Jewish women, she did have 
the grace to make the best of a situation about which there was 
actually nothing she could do. 

In matters of theology, too, Rebecca Gratz conformed to the 
traditional Jewish views. She accepted the concept of im- 
mortality as the reward of a loving God. God, for her, was an 
ever-present force, guiding and comforting those who believed 
in Him. All things, for her, had their source in God, and her 
willingness to accept what life brought her made her something 
of a fatalist. All things happened, she believed, because God 
willed them this made acceptance of disappointment and 
misfortune relatively simple for her. 

In general, Rebecca Gratz's thoughts on religion and philos- 
ophy contained no great profundities and no solution to any 
of the traditional or historical philosophical problems. Hers 
was a homey, rather pedestrian type of investigation into those 
facts and principles of reality, of human nature and human 
conduct, which came within the purview of her own personal 
experience. It was, to an extent, a form of rationalization, as 
are all expressions of personal philosophy. Her philosophy was 
sincere, uttered with a deep understanding of other persons and" 
of herself. It seems to have served her well. 



All that has thus far been said in this study confirms the 
view, expressed above, that this woman was something less 
than a great personage. Why, then, has Rebecca Gratz held, 
and why does she continue to hold, so prominent a position in 
the history of American Jewry? Her accomplishments for 
Philadelphia Jewry, we must remember, were manifold. She 
held a symbolic importance for her coreligionists; she stood as a 
symbol of Jewish integration into the haul monde of Philadelphia 
society. She was instrumental also in the establishment of many 
worthy and influential agencies of social-service significance. 
Surely, we must be cognizant of the fact that there have been 
scores of other such outstanding Jewish women in the century 
between the Revolution and the Civil War. For none of them, 
however, have we literally thousands of historical documents 
recording their lives and accomplishments. Have these doc- 
uments her letters and the records of her communal activ- 
ities made of Rebecca Gratz a historical personage? To a 
considerable extent, we would answer, yes. It is also possible 
that there were indeed few, if any, other Jewesses to equal 
Rebecca Gratz in stature and achievement. If Rebecca Gratz 
loomed large in nineteenth-century American Jewry, it must 
be understood that the Jews in America at this time were a 
minute group. During the nineteenth century, in general, the 
role of American women in the making of history was cir- 
cumscribed by law and custom. It is no wonder that Rebecca 
Gratz loomed as large as she did among her coreligionists. On 
the other hand, every ethnic and religious group must of 
necessity have its heroes and heroines. Rebecca Gratz's true 
achievements, taken together with the traditional view that she 
was the prototype of Rebecca in Scott's Ivanhoe, and the fact 
that she was the daughter of one of Colonial America's most 
prominent Jewish families, tended to confer on her the r61e of 



the heroine of the Jewish people at least for the earlier part 
of the Jewish historical experience in America. 

Rebecca Gratz's efforts, in any supposed history-making r61es, 
were confined to adapting established institutions to new situa- 
tions. The organizations which she inaugurated in Philadelphia 
were of importance, but were new only in relation to the small 
group for which she created them. It is here that Rebecca 
Gratz's historical importance is to be found. 

If Miss Gratz's alleged identification with Sir Walter Scott's 
Jewish heroine could be proved, her historical importance would 
not be enhanced; if proved, this identification would only 
adumbrate her popular renown, based as it is primarily on this 
allegation. It would be interesting; it would not be significant. 
Her r61e as the creator of Jewish institutions in Philadelphia is 
of significance, at least to that particular community. The fact 
that the pattern of some of these institutions was followed 
elsewhere in the American Jewish scene makes her relatively 
important to the larger American Jewish group as well. 

Viewed in relation to the American Jewish community of 
her time, and on the basis of available documentation, Rebecca 
Gratz was the most important Jewess of that period. When, 
however, she is assessed in absolute terms, in relation to truly 
great historical personages, she cannot be counted in their ranks. 
She is of prominence in Jewish circles, when they write of Jews, 
since so few others of any real stature are known to have lived 
and worked during her lifetime. 

Rebecca Gratz was an outstanding woman in a limited area. 
If she was charming in some ways, she was prosaic in others. 
Her letters are without humor, and she is generally revealed in 
them as a rather strait-laced individual. Yet while she was a 
conformist in most situations, she was, at the same time, a true 
leader. Her sensitivity, her compassion for others, led her to 



work for the reduction of suffering and want among many 
unfortunates. She knew where her leadership was most needed 
and how she could be most effective. This ability, together with 
other factors, gave her great status in her own group as well as 
in others. 

Some outstanding persons are creative thinkers, and others 
are more proficient in putting established patterns into practice. 
Few achieve both. Rebecca Gratz had few, if any, original 
thoughts, but she was sensitive to the needs of others and she 
knew how to care for them. Through her accomplishments, her 
social position, and the traditions that developed about her, she 
has become the American Jewess of her time. While her fame 
is due more to traditions than to achievements, the latter 
remain truly worthy of admiration and recognition. 


Some Unrecorded American Judaica 
Printed Before 1851 


WHEN Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach issued his pioneer 
American Jewish Bibliography in 1926, he defined a new field of 
bibliographical research. He stimulated a continuing interest in 
early American Judaica. His entries indicated that here were 
both high points and depth. And his work has proved of inesti- 
mable value to the writers of early American Jewish history. 

In 1954 Dr. Jacob R. Marcus published a supplement which 
contained titles unnoticed by Rosenbach, but was limited to 
books in the Library of the Hebrew Union College -Jewish 
Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. In all, 916 titles of "Books 
and Articles by Jews or Relating to Them Printed in the United 
States from the Earliest Days to 1850" have been recorded. 

The increase of activity in American Jewish historiography, 
however, has emphasized the inadequacies of both these contri- 
butions to the subject, and the need for a full-scale "second 
edition" has become evident. Both Rosenbach and Marcus 
devoted much space to books of only peripheral Jewish impor- 
tance, such as Christian theological works on Old Testament 
themes, to poems and essays with a biblical, but no essentially 
Jewish, content, and to comprehensive religious histories where 
the Jewish interest is limited to biblical history as a prelude to 
Christianity. They have listed at length successive editions of the 

Mr. Edwin Wolf 2nd is the Librarian of the Library Company of Philadelphia. 



often-reprinted Josephus and Merchant of Venice. On the other 
hand, they did not record many items which are of more 
significance and usefulness to researchers, particularly political, 
scientific, and commercial works by American Jews. 

My own additions are not the result of systematic research, 
but rather the accumulated by-products of work in the field of 
American Jewish history. They include a few titles which might 
be considered peripheral, but in most cases these are other 
editions of works already noted by Rosenbach or Marcus. They 
do not include articles in newspapers or periodicals which 
still unrecorded occur in great number. I offer these entries 
merely as a token of still undiscovered riches, as a challenge to 
one who will plow the field in regular furrows. Contrary to the 
opinions of a past generation, the source materials for early 
American Jewish history are far from sparse. 

I am greatly in the debt of Dr. Marcus and Maxwell White- 
man for their help in compiling this list. They have made 
available to me items of which they had personal knowledge, as 
well as books, broadsides, and photostats to be found in the 
American Jewish Archives. But, even more, they have both 
encouraged me to get this fragmentary addition to Rosenbach 
and Marcus into print. 

1 83 




i . JOSEPHUS, FLAVIUS. The Wars of the Jews. / In Two Books. / With 
the most Deplorable / History / of the / Seige and Destruction / of 
the / City of Jerusalem. / And / The Burning of the Temple . . . / 
. . . /Epitomiz'd from the Works of Flavius / Josephus, Translated 
into English by Sir / Roger L'Estrange, Knight. / The Fourth Edi- 
tion. / London Printed: Reprinted at Boston / by S. Kneeland, for 
B. Eliot, at his / Shop in King-Street. 1719. 

241110, pp. (2), 262. A variant issue of Rosenbach 15. AAS. 


2. NATHANS and HART. Price Current. / Halifax, 175 / New England 
Rum / Leeward Island Do. / . . . / Your Humble Servants, / Nathans 
and Hart / Halifax: Printed by John Bushell. 1752. 
Folio, broadside. Massachusetts Historical Society. 


3. OTTOLENGHE, JOSEPH. Directions / for breeding / Silk-Worms, / 
Extracted from a Letter of /Joseph Ottolenghe, Esq; / Late Super- 
intendent / of the / Public Filature / in Georgia. / Philadelphia: / 
Printed by Joseph Crukshank, in Third-Street. / M, DCC, LXXI 

8vo, pp. 8. LCP. 

* I have not attempted a census of copies, but merely have indicated the location 
of the copy used for the description. Librarians in the institutions noted have been 
most helpful to me, and specially Dr. Bertram W. Korn and Dr. Clarence S, Brig- 
ham and Clifford K. Shipton of the American Antiquarian Society. The symbols 
used are as follows: AAS American Antiquarian Society; EW2 Edwin Wolf 
2nd; HUC Hebrew Union College (inch American Jewish Archives); LGP 
Library Company of Philadelphia; and MW Maxwell Whiteman. 



4. JEFFERSON, THOMAS. The Secretary of State, to whom was referred, 
by the House of Representatives of the United States, / the petition 
of Jacob Isaacks, of Newport, in Rhode-Island, has examined into the 
truth and importance of the alle- / gations therein set forth, and makes 
thereon the following / Report. / . . . / Philadelphia, November 2ist, 
1791. / Th: Jefferson. / [Philadelphia, 1791.] 

4to, broadside. Concerning Isaacs' claim for a reward from the 
government for having developed a method of extracting salt from 
sea-water, LCP. 

5. [MAGGOWAN, JOSEPH.] The /Life /of /Joseph /The / Son of Is- 
rael. / In Eight Books. / Chiefly designed for the use of youth. / 
Republished from the first London Edition. / Hartford: / Printed by 
Elisha Babcock. / M, DCC, XCI [1791]. 

8vo, pp. 147. EWa. 

5a. NIGODEMUS. Evangelium Nicodemi; / oder / Historischer Bericht / 
von dem / Leben / Jesu Christi, / welches / Nicodemus, / Ein Rabbi 
und Oberster der Jiiden, / beschrieben, / Wie er solches selbst gesehen 
und erfahren, weil er / ein Nachfolger und heimlicher Jiinger Jesu / 
Christi gewesen: / Auch sind / Viel schone Stiicke und Geschichte / 
dabey zu finden, / Welche die Evangelisten nicht beschrieben haben; / 
Nebst einer / Historic von einem Rabbi und Obersten / der Jiiden, / 
Welcher offentlich bekant: / Dass Christus Gottes Sohn sey. / Aus des 
Herrn Philippi Kegelii Anhang zum Geistlichen / Wegweiser nach 
dem himmlischen Vaterland, &c. ge- / nommen. / Wie dann auch / 
Die erschrecklichen Strafen und Plagen / der zwolf Jiidischen 
Stamme. / Lancaster, / Gedruckt bey Jacob Bailey, in der Konig- 
strasse, im / Jahr 1791. 
I2mo, pp. 95. LCP. 


6. A Confession of the / Christian Faith, / Which was made at 
Constantinople, in the Year 1585, by One, who be- / ing complained 
of as a Great Heretic, gave this Answer and Reason / of his Faith, to 
some Latin and Greek Christians; as also to se- / veral Jews and 



Turks that were present. / . . . / London: printed in the year 1711 
New-York: / Re-printed in the Year 1793. 
4to, broadside. EWa. 

7. NASSY, DAVID DE ISAAC COHEN. Observations /on the / Cause, 
Nature, and Treatment / of the / Epidemic Disorder, / Prevalent in 
Philadelphia. / By D. Nassy, M.D. Member of the American / Philo- 
sophical Society, &c. / (Translated from the French.) / Philadelphia: / 
Printed by Parker & Co. for M. Carey. / Nov. 26, 1793. 
8vo, pp. 26. LCP. 

8. . Observations / sur la / Cause, la Nature, et le Traite- 

ment / de la / Maladie Epidemique, / qui regne a Philadelphia. / 
Par D. Nassy, Docteur en Medicine, et Membre de / la Soci6t6 Philo- 
sophique de Philadelphie, &c. / Philadelphie: / Imprime* par Parker & 
Cie. pour M. Carey. / 26 Nov. 1793. 

8vo, pp. 48. With English title as in preceding entry and English 
text on the right hand pages. LCP. 


9. [CROUCH, NATHANIEL.] A /Journey / To /Jerusalem. / Contain- 
ing, / The Travels / of / Fourteen Englishmen, / In 1668, / To Jeru- 
salem, Bethlehem, Jericho, the / River Jordan, Lake of Sodom and 
Go- / morrah, / In a Letter from T. B. / To which is added, a 
Description of the / Empire of China. / Poughkeepsie, Dutchess 
County: / Printed and sold by Nicholas Power. 1794. 

8vo, pp. 34. AAS. 

10. JOSEPHUS, FLAVIUS. The / Whole Genuine and Complete / Works / 
of / Flavius Josephus / the Learned and Authentic /Jewish / Histor- 
ian, / and / Celebrated Warrior. / Containing / Also a / Con- 
tinuation / of the / History of the Jews, / . . . / By George Henry 
Maynard, LL. D. / Illustrated with Marginal References and Notes . . . / 
By the Rev. Edward Kimpton, /..../ New-York: / Printed and Sold 
by William Durell, / No. 208, Pearl-Street, near the Fly-Market. / 
M, DCC, XCIV[i794], 

Folio, pp. 723, (3), with 60 engravings. AAS. 



1 1 . BRETT, SAMUEL. A / True Relation / of the / Proceedings / of the / 
Great Council / of the /Jews; / Assembled in the Plains of Ajayday, 
in / Hungaria, about 30 Leagues distant from / Buda; to examine the 
Scriptures con-/cerning Christ. /On the i2th of October, 1650. / 
By Samuel Brett; / (An Englishman) there present. / Printed at 
Keene (New-Hampshire,) / For Amos Taylor; / Travelling Book- 
Seller. / M, DCC, XCV [1795]. 

isuno, pp. 12. AAS. 


12. CAREY, MATHEW, compiler. Select Pamphlets: /viz. / i. Lessons 
to a Young Prince, by an Old Statesman, / on the present Disposition 
in Europe to a general Revolution. / 2. Appeal from the New to the 
Old Whigs, / in Consequence of some late Discussions in Parliament. / 

3. Address to the House of Representatives of the United States. / 

4. Features of Mr. Jay's Treaty. / 5. Short Account of the Malignant 
Fever, / prevalent in Philadelphia, in the Fall of 1793 by Mathew 
Carey. / 6. Dr. Nassy's Account of the Same Fever. / 7. Observations 
on Dr. Rush's Enquiry into the Origin of / the late Epidemic Fever 
by Mathew Carey. / 8. Trial of Mr. Walker, and others, for High 
Treason. / Philadelphia: Published by Mathew Carey, / No. 1 18 
Market-Street. / 1796. / (Price two dollars.) 

8vo. A collection of separate pamphlets of various dates, with the 
general title as above. The Nassy pamphlet is the 1793 French- 
English edition. Carey issued other similar collections the same year 
with different contents. Another one, including the Nassy pamphlet, 
has exactly the same title as above, except: "8. Revolution of Amer- 
ica By the AbW Raynal." LCP. 


13. COOPER, WILLIAM. The Promised Seed. / A / Sermon / Preached 
To God's Ancient Israel /The Jews, /at Sion-Chapel. White- 
Chapel, / On Sunday Afternoon, August 28, 1796. /By William 
Cooper. / To Which Are Added, / The Hymns That Were Sung, and 



The /Prayers That Were Offered Up, /Before and After The/ 
Sermon. / Windsor; Re-Printed by Alden Spooner. / 1 797. 
8vo, pp. 28, (2). AAS. 

14. [MACGOWAN, JOSEPH.] The / Life / of / Joseph, / The / Son of 
Israel. / In Eight Books. / Chiefly designed to allure young minds to a 
love of / the Sacred Scriptures. / By John [sic] Macgowan. / Wind- 
ham: (Connecticut) Printed by /John Byrne. / 1797. 

8vo, pp. 1 66. EWa. 


15. A / Dictionary / of the / Bible: / or an explanation of the Proper 
Names & Difficult Words / in the / Old and New Testament, / ac- 
cented as they ought to be pronounced. / With other / Useful Partic- 
ulars / for those who would understand the / Sacred Scriptures, / and 
read them with propriety. / First American Edition, / from the second 
London edition, enlarged. / Printed at the Press of and for / Isaiah 
Thomas, Jun. / Sold by him at his Bookstore, also by Isaiah Thomas, 
at the / Worcester Bookstore, and by Thomas & Andrews, No. 45, 
Newbury Street, Boston. / Worcester January 1798. 

tamo, pp. iv, (231), (4), EW2. 


1 6. PRIESTLEY, JOSEPH. A / Comparison / of the / Institutions of 
Moses / with those of / The Hindoos / and / other Ancient Nations; / 
with / Remarks on Mr. Dupuis's Origin of all / Religions, / The Laws 
and Institutions of Moses / Methodized, / and / An Address to the 
Jews on the present state of the / World and the Prophecies relating 
to it. / By Joseph Priestley, L.L.D., F.R.S. &c. / Trutina ponantur 
eadem / Horace. / Northumberland: / Printed for the Author by A. 
Kennedy. / MDCCXCIX [1799]. 
8vo, pp. xxvii, 428. (8), EWs, 


17. NONES, BENJAMIN. To the Printer of the Gazette of the United 
States. / Sir, / I hope, if you take the liberty of inserting calumnies 



against individuals, for the amusement of / your readers, you will have 
so much regard to justice, as to permit the injured .-./... to appeal 
to the public in self defence. . . . / Benjamin Nones. / Philadelphia, 
August n, 1800. [Philadelphia: William Duane, 1800.] 
Folio, pp. 2. MW. 

1 8. SOLOMON, SAMUEL. A / Guide to Health; / or, / Advice to Both 
Sexes: / with / An Essay / On certain Disease, Seminal Weakness, / 
and / A destructive Habit of a private Nature. / Also an address / 
To Parents, Tutors & Guardians of Youth. / To which are added, / 
Observations / on the / Use & Abuse of Cold Bathing. /By S. 
Solomon, M.D. / Fifty-second Edition. / Stockport / Printed, for the 
Author, by J. Clarke, 21, Underbank; /and sold by /Robert Bach, 
New- York. / Price One Dollar. [1800] 

8vo, pp. 283, with frontispiece portrait and one plate. LCP. 


19. ETTING, REUBEN. Schedule of the whole number of Persons in the 
District of Maryland. / [table of 14columns\ / Baltimore, December 2ist, 
1 80 1, / Reuben Etting, Marshal of the District of Maryland. [Balti- 
more: 1801.] 

Folio, pp. 2. Possibly printed at Washington. On verso are printed 
letters of transmittal from Etting to Madison, Dec. 21, 1801, and 
from Jefferson to Congress, Dec. 23, 1801. Mass. Hist. Soc. 


20. COHEN, JACOB i. Sales at / Auction, / By Prosser & Moncure, / 
All That Valuable Assortment of / Merchandize, / Belonging to the 
estate of Israel I. Cohen, dec. late of this City, / on Wednesday the 
1 6th inst. .../.../ Richmond, November 7th, 1803. /Jacob I. 
Cohen, Adm'r. / Printed by S. Pleasants, Junior, Richmond [1803]. 
Folio, broadside. EW2. 


Proceedings / of the / Illinois and Ouabache / Land Companies, / 
in persuance of their purchases made of the / Independent Natives, / 



July 5th, 1773, anc * i8th October, 1775. /Philadelphia: /Printed by 
William Duane, No. 106, Market Street. / 1803. 

8vo, pp. 74. Among the original shareholders who made the purchase 
were Moses, Jacob and David Franks, Barnard and Michael Gratz, 
oseph Simon and Levy Andrew Levy. LCP. 

21. [MACGOWAN, JOSEPH.] The /Life /of /Joseph/ The Son of Is- 
rael. / In Eight Books. / Chiefly designed for the use / of youth. / 
[four-line quotation^ / Brookfield, Massachusetts, / Printed by E. Merriam 
& Co. /July 1803. 

iizmo, pp. 153, (3). HUG. 

22. MONTEFIORE, JOSHUA. Commercial and Notarial / Precedents: / 
consisting of / All the most approved Forms, Common and Special, / 
which are required in Transactions of Business: / With an Appendix, / 
Containing principles of Law relative to / Bills of Exchange, Insurance, 
and Shipping: / By Joshua Montefiore, / Attorney and Notary Public 
of the City of London. / Philadelphia: / Printed and Sold by James 
Humphreys, / At the N. W. Corner of Walnut and Dock-Streets. / 

8vo, pp. xvi, 350, 2. LCP. 

23. PRIESTLEY, JOSEPH. The Originality / And / Superior Excellence / 
Of The / Mosaic Institutions / Demonstrated. / By Joseph Priestley, 
LL.D. F.R.S. &c. / . . . / Northumberland: / Printed by Andrew 
Kennedy, Franklin's Head, Queen-Street: / for P. Byrne, No. 72 
Chesnut Street, / Philadelphia. / 1803. 

i6mo, pp. 36. AAS. 


24. [PHILLIPSON, SIMON.] Report / of / the Committee / of / Commerce 
and Manufacturers, / to whom / was referred on the eighteenth / of 
December last, / the / Petition / of / Simon Philipson, / of the City of 
Philadelphia. / 20th February, 1805. /Read and ordered to be 
referred to a committee of the whole / House, tomorrow. / [Washing- 
ton: 1805.] 

8vo, pp. 4. HUG. 



25. SMITH, ELIAS. The / Whole World Governed by a Jew; / or The / 
Government / of The / Second Adam, as King and Priest; / Described 
From The Scriptures. /Delivered March 4, 1805, the Evening after 
the / Election of the President & Vice-President. / By Elias Smith. / 
. . . . / Exeter; / Printed By Henry Ranlet, / And sold at his Bookstore: 
and by Elias Smith, Portsmouth; / B. B. Macanulty, Salem; Daniel 
Gonant, No. 8, and /Joseph Pulsifer, No. 36, Backstreet, Boston; 
J. Prince, / Freetown, Mass.; Timothy Kezer, Kennebunk, and the / 
Book-sellers in the United States. 1805. 

i2mo, pp. 84. AAS. 


26. [HOLFORD, GEORGE PETER.] The /Destruction /of /Jerusalem, / 
an Absolute and Irresistible Proof /of /The Divine Origin /of/ 
Christianity: / Including / A Narrative of the Calamities Which 
Befel / the Jews, so far as they tend to Verify / Our Lord's Predictions 
Relative / to that Event. / With / A Brief Description of the / City 
and Temple. /..../ Third American Edition. / Philadelphia: / Pub- 
lished by Joseph Sharpless, at Rose-Mount, / half a mile above 
Callowhill Street, / on the Ridge Road. 1809. 

i2mo, pp. 144. AAS. 

27. NOAH, MORDEGAI MANUEL, ed. Shakspeare Illustrated: /or, the/ 
Novels and Histories / on which the / Plays of Shakspeare / are 
founded. / Collected and translated from the originals, / By Mrs. 
Lenox, / Author of the Female Quixote, &c. / With Critical Re- 
marks, / and / Biographical Sketches of the Writers, / By M. M. 
Noah. /In Two Volumes. / Vol. I, / Published by /Bradford & 
Inskeep, Philadelphia; Inskeep & Bradford, / New York; William 
M'llhenney, Jun., Boston; Coale & / Thomas, Baltimore; and E. 
Morford, Charleston. / Printed by T. & G. Palmer, Philadelphia. / 

8vo, pp. viii, (2), 341. Only the first volume was published. 

2ya. [ETTING, SOLOMON.] Memorial /of the / United / Illinois and 
Wabash / Land Companies, / to the / Senate and House of Repre- 



sentatives / of the / United States. / Baltimore: / Printed by Joseph 
Robinson, 96, Market-St. / 1810. 

8vo, pp. 44. The memorial was signed by the agents of the com- 
panies, one of whom was Etting. LCP. 


28. GOLDSMITH, LEWIS. An / Exposition / of the / Conduct of France / 
towards / America: / illustrated by / Cases / decided in the / Council 
of Prizes in Paris. / By Lewis Goldsmith, / Notary Public, / Author of 
"The Crimes of Cabinets" Translator of Mr. D'Hauterive's / 
"Etat de la France k la Fin de PAn 8," &c. &c. / [two-line quotation 

from Virgit] / Second Edition. / New York: / Printed for Ezra Sargeant, 
86 Broadway, / opposite Trinity Church. / 1810. 

ismo, pp. 99. First printed at London the same year. LCP. 

28a. GOLDSMITH, LEWIS. The / Secret History / of the / Cabinet of 
Bonaparte; / including / His Private Life, Character, Domestic Ad- 
ministration, and / his Conduct to Foreign Powers; / Together with / 
Secret Anecdotes / of the different courts of Europe, and of the 
French / Revolution. / With / Two Appendices, / . . . / by Lewis 
Goldsmith, / Notary Public. / . . . / Edited and Illustrated with 
Notes, / By a Gentleman of New-York; / . . . / Vol I (-11). / New- 
York: / Printed for E. Sargeant and M. & W. Ward. /And also 
sold by / Brannan & Morford, Philadelphia; E. Morford, Willington 
& Co. Charles- / ton; Seymour & Williams, Savannah; Munroe & 
Francis, O. C. Green- / leaf, W. Wells, West & Blake, John West & 
Co. Boston; .../..,/ 1810. 

2-vols., I2mo, pp. (4), 257; (2), iv, 300. LCP. 

29. LA MOTTA, JACOB DE. An / Investigation / of the / Properties and 
Effects, / of the / Spiraea Trifoliata / of Linnaeus, / or / Indian 
Physic. / By /Jacob de La Motta, / Of Charleston South Carolina. / 
Member of the Philadelphia Medical and American Linnaean/ 
Societies; and Member of the Charleston Philosophical Society. / 
"Fiat Experimentum." / [four-line quotation from Darwin] / Philadel- 
phia: / Printed by Jane Aitken, No. 71, / North Third Street. / 1810. 

8vo, pp. 44. Dissertation submitted to the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, April 18, 1810, for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. EW2. 



30. A / Word of Entreaty / to the /Jews / dispersed throughout the 
United States / of America, [cap. title] / [colop:] Published at J. 
Tiebout's, No. 238 Water Street, / for the Author. / Largin & 
Thompson, Printers. [New York: ca. 1810.] 
I2mo, pp. 12. MW. 


31. FLEURY, ABB CLAUDE. A Short History /of the /Ancient Isra- 
elites: / with an account / Of their Manners, Customs, Laws, Polity, 
Re- / ligion, Sects, Arts, and Trades, Divi- / sion of Time, Wars, 
Capti- / vities, &c. / A work of the greatest utility. / Written originally 
in French by the Abb6 Fleury, / Much enlarged from the Apparatus 
Biblicus of Pere Lamy, / And corrected and improved throughout / 
By Adam Clarke, L.L.D. / Baltimore: / Published by J. Kingston, 
Bookseller, / 164 Market-Street. / B. W. Sower, & Co. Printers. / 

I2mo, pp. 307, frontispiece portrait. LCP. 

32. MARTIN, JOHN. The / Conquest of Canaan: / in which /The 
Natural and Moral State of /its Inhabitants; / The Character of 
their Conquerors; / with / The Manner and Design / of / Their Con- 
quest, / are considered. / In a Series of Letters from a Father to his 
Son. / By John Martin. / Frankford [Philadelphia] : Printed by Coale 
& Gilbert./ 1811 

i2mo, pp. 303, folding map. EW2. 

33. MONTEFIORE, JOSHUA. The / American Trader's / Compendium; / 
containing / The Laws, Customs, and Regulations / of / The United 
States, / Relative to Commerce. / Including the most useful precedents 
adapted to / general business. / Dedicated by Permission / to the / 
Honorable William Tilghman, / Chief Justice of Pennsylvania. / By 
J. Montefiore, / Author of the Commercial Dictionary, Commercial / 
and Notarial Precedents, &c. &c. / Philadelphia: / Published by 
Samuel R. Fisher, Junr. / No. 30, South Fourth Street, / William 
Brown, Printer. / 1811. 

8vo. pp. xii, 304. EW2. 



34. MONTMOLLIN, FREDERICK, and MOSES, SOLOMON. [Circular] / Phila- 
delphia, 1 2th August 1811. / [Sir.] / In compliance with the general 
wish of my friends, I have formed an / Establishment in the Auction 
and Commission business, with Mr. Solomon / Moses . . . / Signa- 
tures. / Frederick Montmollin. / Solomon Moses. 

4to, broadside. Girard College. 

35. NEW YORK (STATE), ASSEMBLY, SENATE. In Senate February 27, 
181 1. / Gentlemen, / I deem it my duty to communicate to you . . . / 
. . . / Report of the Managers of Union College / Lottery. / . . . / 
[Albany: 1811.] 

Folio, pp. 4. An emergency report made necessary by the failure of 
Naphtali Judah, one of the major purchasers of tickets. HUG. 


36. BINNY & RONALDSON. Specimen / of / Printing Types, / from the / 
Foundery / of / Binny & Ronaldson. / Philadelphia. / Fry and Kam- 
merer, Printers. / 1812. 

8vo, 41 leaves. Pica, Long Primer, and Brevier Hebrew are dis- 
played. LCP. 


37. CLARKE, EDWARD DANIEL. Travels / in / Various Countries / of / 
Europe, Asia, and Africa. / Commencing January i, 1801. / By Ed- 
ward Daniel Clarke, LL.D. / Part the Second. / Greece, Egypt, and 
The Holy Land. / Section the First. / New- York: / Published by 
Whiting and Watson, / Theological and Classical Booksellers, No. 96, 
Broadway. / Printed by T, C. Fay, 157, Chatham-street. / 1813. 

I2mo, pp. xvi, 327, 113. This is the only section dealing with 
Palestine. LCP. 

37a. . Travels / in / Various Countries / of / Europe, Asia, 

and Africa. / By Edward Daniel Clarke, LL.D. / Part the Second. / 
Greece, Egypt, and the Holy Land. / Section I. / Second American 
Edition. / Printed by Heman Willard, / Stockbridge, Massachusetts. / 

i2mo, pp. xxiv, 400. LCP. 



38. HORWITZ, JONAS. Just put to Press, / and will be published with all 
convenient speed, / The first American edition of / Van Der Hooghfs / 
Hebrew Bible, / without the points. / By J. Horwitz. [Philadelphia: 
Thomas Dobson, 1813.] 

8vo } pp. 4. Prospectus for the first Hebrew Bible printed in America. 
University of Virginia. 


39. The / American Speaker; / A / Selection / of / Popular, Parlia- 
mentary and Forensic / Eloquence; / particularly calculated / for the 
Seminaries in the United States. / Second Edition. / Philadelphia: / 
Printed and published by / Abraham Small. 71814, 

I2mo, pp. xii, 395. On pp. 279-282 appears the "Speech delivered 
by Jacob Henry, in the Legislature of North-Carolina, on a motion 
to vacate his seat, he being a Jew." Henry's speech does not appear in 
the first edition of 181 1. LCP. 

3ga. CLARKE, EDWARD DANIEL, Travels / in / Various Countries / in / 
Europe, Asia, and Africa. / By Edward Daniel Clarke, LL.D. / Part 
the Second. / Greece, Egypt, and The Holy Land. / Section I. / The 
Fourth American Edition. / New-York: / Published by D. Hunting- 
ton. / C. S. Van Winkle, Printer. / 1814. 
i2mo, pp. xii, 406, (i). LCP. 


40. LUTYENS, GOTTHILF N. The / Life and Adventures / of / Moses 
Nathan Israel. / By G. N. Lutyens. / Containing / An Account of his 
Birth, Education and / Travels through Parts of Germany, / Italy, 
and the / United States, / where he met with his family; / interspersed 
with many interesting / Anecdotes: / With a description of the Govern- 
ment, Manners / and Customs of different parts of / Germany & 
Italy. / Easton: / Printed by Christian J. Hutter, / 1815. 

I2mo, pp. 214, (2). Rosenbach Foundation. 


4oa. [ETTING, SOLOMON.] Memorial /of the / United / Illinois and 
Wabash / Land Companies, / to the / Senate and House of Repre- 



sentatives / of the / United States. / Baltimore: / Printed by Joseph 
Robinson, 96, Market-St. / 1816. 

8vo, pp. 48. The memorial was signed by the agents of the companies, 
one of whom was fitting. LCP. 

41. NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH, CITIZENS. To the / President and 
Directors / of the / Bank of the United States, / at / Philadelphia. / 
Gentlemen, / At a numerous meeting of the citizens of Nor- / folk 
and Portsmouth, . . . [Norfolk: 1816.] 

8vo, pp. 12. Moses Myers was one of the committee who signed the 
memorial. LCP. 

42. RONALDSON, JAMES. Specimen / of / Printing Type, /from the/ 
Letter Foundry / of /James Ronaldson, / Successor to / Binny & 
Ronaldson. / Cedar between Ninth and Tenth streets, / Philadel- 
phia. / 1816. 

8vo. 43 leaves. Double Pica, Pica, Long Primer, Pica with Points, 
and Brevier Hebrew are displayed, LCP. 


43. BYRON, GEORGE GORDON, LORD. Hebrew Melodies. / By Lord 
Byron. / Philadelphia: / Published by James P. Parke, / No. 74, South 
Second Street. / Wm. Fry, Printer. 1815. 

i2mo, pp. 47. LCP. 

44. COHEN, JACOB i., JR. Cohen's / Lottery and Exchange-Office, / 
Baltimore. / The proprietor of this establishment, begs leave to present 
to his customers, / agents and correspondents, and to the publick (by 
Authority of the State of Maryland,) / the most splendid lottery ever 
projected in this Country, being / For the Benefit of the / Surgical 
Institution of Baltimore. / . . . / J. I. Cohen, Jr. / . . . / Baltimore, 

Folio, broadside. Library of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty 
of the State of Maryland. 

45. [jUDAH, MANUEL, and SAUNDERS, CHARLES H.] (27) / Report / Of 

the Committee of Ways and Means on the Peti- / tion of Charles H. 



Saunders and Manuel Judah. /January 2, 1817. / . . . / [Washington: 

8vo, pp. 4. The petitioners' claim for recovery of duty on liquor 
lost by fire was turned down. HUG. 

46. LACEY, HENRY. The / Principal Events / in the / Life of Moses, / 
and in the / Journey of the Israelites / from / Egypt to Canaan. / By 
Henry Lacey. /Philadelphia: /Published by Benjamin Johnson, 31 
Market-street. / D. Dickinson, Printer. / 1817. 

I2mo, pp. 84. LCP. 

46a. MARKS, ELIAS. The / Aphorisms / of / Hippocrates / From the 
Latin Version of Verhoofd / with a /Literal Translation on the 
Opposite Page / and / Explanatory Notes / [one-line quotation] / The 
Work intended As a Book of Reference / to the Medical Student. / 
By Elias Marks, M.D. / Member of the Physico-Medical Society of 
New-York / New-York: / Printed and Sold by Collins & Co., no. 182, 
Pearl /Street. /i 817. 

I2mo, pp. 169 (pp. 145-6 omitted). College of Physicians of Phila- 

47. The / Return / of / The Jews, / and the / Second Advent of Our 
Lord, / proved to be a scripture doctrine, / By a citizen of Baltimore. / 
"Slave to no sect, who takes no private road." / Baltimore: / Printed 
by Richard J. Matchett. / 1817. 

8vo, pp. 60. LCP. 


47a. NIGODEMUS. Das / Evangelium Nicodemus, / oder / Gewisser Be- 
richt / Von dem Leben, Leiden und Sterben, / Unsers Heilands / 
Jesu Christi, / und von den / Zwolf Stammen der Juden / und sonst 
noch mehr schone Stiicke, / wo das mehrste von den Evangelisten 
nicht beschrieben / worden ist, / Beschrieben von / Nicodemus, / ein 
Priester und Oberster der Juden und ein / heimlicher Junger und 
Nachfolger Jesu, / Nebst Theotesius, / welcher auch ein Priester und 
Schriftgelehrter / der Jiiden war. / Aus Herrn Philippi Kegelii An- 
hang zum geistlichen Weg- / weiser nach dem himmlischen Vater- 
lande &c. / genommen. / Auch ein neuer Zusaz zum Evangeli Nico- 



demi / Und ein Anhang von der / Genoveva und Helena. / Neu 
verfasset und zum erstenmal in dieser Form heraus- / gegeben von / 
Johann George Homan, / im Rosenthal, nahe bey Reading, Penn- 
sylvanien, im / Jahr Christi, 1819. / Reading . . . gedruckt bey C. A. 
Bruckman ... 1819. 
i2mo, pp. 302. LGP. 


48. HOLFORD, GEORGE PETER. The / Destruction of Jerusalem, / an / 
Absolute and Irresistible / Proof / of / the Divine Origin /of/ Chris- 
tianity: / Including / A Narrative of the Calamities which Befell / the 
Jews, so far as they tend to Ver- / ify Our Lord's Predictions Rel- / 
ative to that Event. / With / A Brief Description of the City and / 
Temple. /..../ Third American Edition. / Pottstown: / Printed by 
John Royer. / 1820. 

i2mo, pp. 132. AAS. 

49. MILMAN, HENRY HART. The / Fall of Jerusalem. / A / Dramatic 
Poem. / By the Rev. H. H. Milman. / New-York: / Published by L. 
and F. Lockwood. / C. S. Van Winkle, Printer. / 1820. 

I2mo, pp. 1 80. LCP. 

50. [NOAH, MORDECAI MANUEL.] Essays / of / Howard, / on / Domestic 
Economy. / Originally published in the New-York Advocate. / "Eye 
Nature's Walks." / New-York: / Printed by G. L. Birch & Co. / No. 
39/4 Frankfort-street. / 1820. 

I2mo, pp. 214. LCP. 

51 . TAPPAN, WILLIAM B. Songs of Judah, / and other / Melodies. / By / 
William B. Tappan, / Author of New England and Other Poems. / 
Philadelphia: / Published by S. Potter & Co. 87 Chesnut Street. / 

I2mo, pp. xi, 204, and engraved title-page. LCP. 


52. JOHNSON, DAVID ISRAEL. Auction. / This Evening, at early Candle- 
light, will be sold, / at the Auction and Commission Store of / D. I. 



Johnson, / No. 1 75, Main Street, / A Valuable Assortment of / Dry 
Goods, / Hardware, &c. / . . . Together with a few Books, &c. / 
Cincinnati, Thursday, January 4, 1821. / Printed at the Office of 
the Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette [1821]. 
Folio, broadside. HUG. 

53. [SEDCAS, DAVID G.] An / Account / of the / Origin and Progress / 
of the / Pennsylvania Institution / for the / Deaf and Dumb. / With / 
A List of the Contributors, &c. / Published by order of the Directors. / 
Philadelphia: / Printed by William Fry, No. 63, South Fifth Street. / 

8vo, pp. 38, (i). David G. Seixas was the founder and first director 
of the Institution, LCP, 

54. - . To the Editors of the American Sentinel. / My com- 
munication of the yth, which appeared / in several gazettes of this city, 
remains until this / day unanswered. .../..../ David G. Seixas. / 
December 14*. / . . . / [Philadelphia: 1821.] 

Folio, broadside. HUG. 

55. VIRGINIA, HOUSE OF DELEGATES. Report / and / Resolutions / con- 
cerning / The Citation of the Commonwealth, / to answer a com- 
plaint before / The Supreme Court / of the / United States. / [Printed 
by order of the House of Delegates.] / Richmond: / Printed by Thomas 
Ritchie, / Printer for the Commonwealth. / 1821. 

8vo, pp. 24. Philip I. Cohen and Mendez I. Cohen were the plain- 
tiffs in the Supreme Court. LCP. 


56. BOSTON, BAPTIST FEMALE SOCIETY. Constitution / of the / Baptist 
Female Society / of / Boston and Vicinity / for / Promoting the Con- 
version of the Jews; / Organized, October 24th, 1822. /With /An 
Address on the Subject. / (three-line quotation) / Boston: / Printed by 
Thomas Badger, Jun. / No. 10 Merchants' Hall / 1822. 

8vo, pp. 8. Abraham Karp. 

57. IRVING, c. A Catechism /of /Jewish Antiquities / Containing / 
An Account / of the / Classes, Institutions, Rites, Ceremonies, Man- 



ners, / Customs, &c. / of the / Ancient Jews. / Adapted to the use of 
Schools in the / United States. / With Engraved Illustrations. / By 
C. Irving, LL.D. / Holyrood-house, Southampton. /..../ First Amer- 
ican Edition, Revised and Improved. / New- York: / F. and R. Lock- 
wood, 154 Broadway. / 1822, / Gray & Hewit, Printers. 
I2mo, pp. 80, frontispiece. AAS. 

58. MONTEFIORE, JOSHUA. Commercial and Notarial / Precedents: / 
consisting of / The Most Approved Forms, / special and common, / 
required in / the daily transactions of business, / by / Merchants, 
Traders, Notaries, Attornies, &c. Each set of precedents preceded by / 
A summary of the law on the subject. / Particularly on / Bills o 
Exchange, Insurance, Salvage, &c. / By Joshua Montefiore, / Attor- 
ney and Notary Public of the City of London. / Second American, 
from the last London Edition, / with / An Introduction, / and / Con- 
siderable Alterations and Additions, / By Clement C. Biddle, Notary 
Public. / Philadelphia: / H. C. Carey & I. Lea Chesnut Street, / 
and H. C. Carey & Co. No. 157, Broadway, New York. / 1822. 

8vo, pp. xx, 480. University of Pennsylvania. 


Dumb, / From the Columbian Observer, / April 20, 1822. / . . . / 
[Philadelphia: 1822.] 
4to, pp. 2, A pro-Seixas statement. LCP. 

6 O> m Deaf and Dumb School. / "On evil deeds, censures ac- 
cumulate." / . . . / [signed] Anti-Persecutor. [Philadelphia: 1822.] 
Folio, broadside. A pro-Seixas statement. LCP. 

61. sous, JACOB s. Circular. / In compliance with my pledge . . . / 
. , . / Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, N. Y. / P. S. J. S. S. 
will call for the answer to this Circular. / [2nd page:] The Plan / For 
Improving the Condition of Jewish Youth of Both Sexes, / by Jacob 
S. Solis. / Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, N. Y. / . . . [n. p.: 
4to, pp. 2. EW2. 





The American Society, / For Meliorating the Condition of the Jews, / 
Was formed in New- York in 1820: / Whose Object is thus Stated / 
(cap. title) . . . / (colop:) Wm. Riley, Printer, 41 Broadway, Charleston. 
8vo, pp. 4. Rutgers University. 

63. CUMBERLAND, RICHARD. The Jew. / A Comedy. / In five acts. / 
By Richard Cumberland, Esq. / As performed at the Philadelphia 
Theatre. / Philadelphia: / Published by Thomas H. Palmer. / 1823. 

i6mo, pp. 67, (i). HUG. 


64. ENGLISH, GEORGE BETHUNE. Five Pebbles / from / The Brook. / 
being / A Reply / to / "A Defence of Christianity" / written by / 
Edward Everett, / Greek Professor of Harvard University. / In answer 
to / "The Grounds of Christianity Examined / by / Comparing the 
New Testament with the Old." / By / George Bethune English. / [five 
lines of biblical quotations} / Philadelphia: Printed for the Author. / 1824. 

I2mo, pp. 124, (2). EW2. 

65. [GOLDSMITH, MORRIS.] i8th Congress, / ist Session. / [91] / Report / 
Of the Committee of Claims in the case of Goldsmith and Roderick, / 
with a bill for their relief. / March 22, 1824. / Read, and, with the 
bill, committed to a committee of the whole House to-morrow. / . . . 
[Washington, 1824.] 

8vo, pp. 2. Approving a claim of Morris Goldsmith for payment of 
services rendered in arresting pirates while he was acting as deputy to 
the Marshal for the State of South Carolina in 1819-20. LCP. 

66. [LEVY, JACOB c.] A / Table / of the Corresponding Prices /of/ 
Cotton, / Shipped from the United States, / and / sold in Liverpool, / 
from / five pence to two shillings / Rising by Farthings; / And Ex- 
change on / London / from par to sixteen per cent / Premium. / 
Charleston / Printed by Gray & Ellis, No. 9 Broad-Street / 1824. 

i6mo, pp. 26. Levy's name appears in the copyright as "author and 
proprietor." LCP. 



66a. HILLHOUSE, JAMES ABRAHAM. Scena Quarta / del / Quinto Atto / 
di / Adad, / Poema Drammatico. / Del Signer Giacomo A. Hill- 
house. / Tradotta in verso Italiano / da / L. Da Ponte. / E / Dedicata 
rispettosamente / alia Signora Cornelia Hillhouse. / Sua veneratissima 
allieva. / New-York: / Stampatori Gray e Bunce. / 1825. 

i6mo, pp. 17. This is Rosenbach 274 of which no copy was located 
and no detailed description given. EW2. 


67. MOORE, CLEMENT c. A / Lecture / introductory to / The Course of 
Hebrew Instruction / in the / General Theological Seminary / of the / 
Protestant Episcopal Church / in the / United States, / Delivered in 
Christ Church, New- York, on the Evening of / November i4th, 1825. / 
By / Clement C. Moore, A.M. / Professor of Oriental and Greek 
Literature. / New-York: / Printed by T. and J. Swords. / No. 99 
Pearl-street. / 1825. 

8vo, pp. 28. LCP, 

68. NORTON, ELIJAH. The /Jew's Friend, / By which all their doubts 
are removed respecting / Melchizedec, / Compared with Christ; / And 
proved to be the same person and / True Messiah; / And Contains an 
Answer- to all Socini- / an and Unitarian Arguments / against the 
Trinity. / By Elijah Norton, / Minister of the Gospel. / / Dedi- 
cated to the Rev. F. Frey, for / the Conversion of the Jews under his 
min- / istry at New- York, and in all the world. / Woodstock: / Printed 
by David Watson. / 1825. 

24010, pp. 48. AAS. 


69. LOPEZ, MATHIAS, ed. Lopez and Wemyss' Edition. / The Acting 
American Theatre. / Marmion; / or, / The Battle of Flodden Field. / 
A Drama, / in Five Acts. / By James N. Barker, Esq. / with / A 
Portrait of Mr. Duff, / in the / Character of Marmion. / The Plays 
carefully corrected from the Prompt Books of the / Philadelphia 
Theatre. / By M. Lopez, Prompter. / Philadelphia: / Published by 
A. R. Poole, and Ash & Mason: P. Thompson, / Washington: H. W. 
Bool, Baltimore: E. M. Murden, New / York. For the Proprietors, and 



to be had of / all the principal booksellers in / the United States. / 
Price to non-subscribers, Fifty Cents. [1826] 

I2mo, pp. 62, and portrait. University of Pennsylvania. 

70, . Lopez and Wemyss' / Edition. / The / Acting American 

Theatre. /The Tragedy of / Superstition, /by /James N. Barker, 
Esq. / Author of Mannion A Tragedy, &c. / with a portrait of / 
Mrs. Duff, / in the character of / Mary. / The Plays carefully cor- 
rected from the Prompt books of the / Philadelphia Theatre. / By M. 
Lopez, Prompter, / Published by A. R. Poole, Chesnut Street, / For 
the Proprietors. / And to be had of all the principal booksellers in the / 
United States. / Price to non-subscribers, Fifty cents. [1826] 
I2mo, pp. 68, and portrait. LCP. 

7oa. . Lopez & Wemyss' / Edition. / The / Acting American 

Theatre. / Wild Oats, / with a portrait of Mr. Francis, / (Father of 
the American Stage,) / as / Sir George Thunder. / The Plays carefully 
corrected from the Prompt books of the / Philadelphia Theatre. / By 
M. Lopez, Prompter. / Published by A. R. Poole, Chesnut Street. / 
For the Proprietors, / And to be had of all the principal booksellers 
in the / United States. / Price, 37^ cents. / J. R. M. Bicking, Printer, 

I2mo, pp. 82 and portrait. EW2. 

71. . Lopez and Wemyss' / Edition. / The / Acting American 

Theatre. / The Old Maid, / A Comedy in two acts, / By Mr. Mur- 
phy. / With a portrait of / Mrs. Francis, / as / Miss Harlow. / The 
Plays carefully corrected from the Prompt books of the / Philadelphia 
Theatre. / By M. Lopez, Prompter. / Published by A. R. Poole, 
Chesnut Street, / For the Proprietors. / And to be had of all the 
principal booksellers in the / United States. / Price to non-subscribers, 
Fifty cents. [1826] 
i2mo, pp. 35. LCP. 

7 1 a. MORE, HANNAH. Sacred Dramas, / by / Hannah More. /To 
which are added / Reflections of King Hezekiah; / Sensibility, a 
Poem; / and / Search after Happiness. / Princeton Press: / Published 
by D. A. Borrenstein. / 1826. 

i6mo, pp. 209. University of Pennsylvania. 



72. PONTE, LORENZO DA. Assur, Re d'Ormus: / Drama, / di / Lorenzo 
da Ponte. / Imitato da Tarar / di / Beaumarchais. / Messo in musica / 
da / A. Salieri. / Pel Teatro imperiale di Vienna. / New- York: / 
Stampatori Giovanni Gray e Co. / 1826. 
I2mo, pp. 47. LCP. 

73- - H / Don Giovanni, / Dramma Eroicomico, / di / Lorenzo 
Da Ponte, / Composto da lui per la Nozze del Principe Antonio di / 
Sassonia Colla Principessa M. Teresa Figlia/dell' Impr. Leo- 
poldo. / E messo in musica dall' immortale / V. Mozzart. / Nova- 
Jorca,: / Stampatori Giovanni Gray e Co. / 1826. 

i2mo, pp. 51. An entirely different edition from Rosenbach 288. 


74. [PHILLIPS, JONAS B.] Tales / for / Leisure Hours, / [six-line quota- 
tion from " Winter Evenings**} / Philadelphia. / Atkinson & Alexander, 
Printers. / 1827. 

i2mo, pp. 162. LCP (Presentation copy from the author). 

75. [SAUL, JOSEPH.] The /Opinion /of /The Supreme Court /of/ 
The State of Louisiana, / on a question / arising in / The Cause / 
of / Saul vs. His Creditors, / whether, / In the case of a Marriage 
contracted in a State, governed by the / Common Law of England, 
between Parties there residing, / but who afterwards remove to Lou- 
isiana, and there / acquire property, such property on the dissolution / 
of the Marriage should be regulated by the / Laws of the Country 
where the / Marriage was contracted, / or of that where it / was 
dissolved. / New-Orleans: / Printed by Benjamin Levy, / Corner of 
Chartres and Bienville streets. / 1827. 

8vo, pp. 24. Joseph Saul was married in Virginia in 1794, moved to 
Louisiana in 1804, and his wife died in Louisiana in 1819. LCP. 

76. The / Young Jewess: / A Narrative / illustrative of the / Polish 
and English Jews / Of the Present Century. / Exhibiting the / Superior 
Moral Influence / of / Christianity. / From the London Edition. / 
Boston: / Published by James Loring, / No. 132 Washington-street. / 

i2mo, pp. 1 80, woodcut frontispiece. LCP. 




77. [HAYS, ISAAC, ed.] American Ornithology; / or / The Natural 
History / of the / Birds of the United States. / Illustrated With 
Plates / Engraved and coloured from original drawings taken / from 
nature. / By Alexander Wilson. / With a sketch of the Author's 
Life, / By George Ord, F.L.S. &c. / In Three Vols. Vol. I (-III). / 
Published by Collins & Co., New York, / and / Harrison Hall, 
Philadelphia. / 1828. 

8vo, 3 vols., and 4to atlas of plates, pp. cxcix, 231; 456; vi, 396; and 
76 plates. Although Isaac Hays's name does not appear as the editor 
of this edition, the Dictionary of American Biography states that he 
was. An unsigned editor's preface appears on pp. [v]-vi. EW2. 

78. PHILLIPS, ZALEGMAN. To the Electors / Of the Second Congressional 
District of the State of / Pennsylvania. / . . . [signed at end:] Zalegman 
Phillips. / Philadelphia, August I5th, 1828. 

8vo, pp, 15. LCP. 


79. HAYS, ISAAC, ed. Elements / of / Physics, / or / Natural Philos- 
ophy, / General and Medical, / explained independently of / Tech- 
nical Mathematics, / and containing / new disquisitions and practical 
suggestions. / By Neil Arnott, M.D., / of the Royal College of Physi- 
cians. / First American from the Third London Edition, / With 
Additions, / By Isaac Hays, A.M., MIX, &c. / Philadelphia: / Carey, 
Lea & Carey Chesnut Street. / 1829. 

8vo, pp. 532. College of Physicians of Philadelphia. 


80. ABRAHAM, RICHARD. A / Catalogue / of / Italian, Flemish, Span- 
ish, Dutch, French, / and English / Pictures; / which have been col- 
lected in Europe and brought to / this country by / Mr. Richard 
Abraham, / Of New Bond Street, London, / and are / Now Exhibit- 
ing / at the / American Academy of Fine Arts. / New York: / Printed 
by Christian Brown, /an Water Street. / 1830. 
8vo, pp. 53. LCP. 



81. BALTIMORE, HEBREW CONGREGATION. Constitution / and / By- 
Laws / of the / Hebrew Congregation / Nitgy Israel / of the / City of 
Baltimore. / 5590. / Baltimore: / Printed by Sands & Neilson, / at the 
Chronicle Office. / 1830. 

i6mo, pp. 14. MW. 

82. [CARDOZO, JACOB N.] 2ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Rep. No. 
306.] / Ho. of Reps. / J. N. Cardozo. / March 17, 1830. / Mr. Over- 
ton, from the Committee of Ways and Means, made the following / 
Report: / . . . [Washington, 1830.] 

8vo, pp. 2, Releasing Cardozo from a contract with the government 
for printing in the Charleston Southern Patriot. LCP. 

83. MADDEN, RICHARD ROBERT. Travels / in / Turkey, Egypt, Nubia, / 
and / Palestine, / in 1824, ^s, 1826, and 1827. /By/ R. R- 
Madden, Esq., M.R.C.S. / In Two Volumes. / Vol. I. (-II) / Phila- 
delphia: / Carey & Lea. / 1830. 

2 vols., i2mo, pp. 250; 238. Dedicated to Moses Montefiore. EW2. 

84. MONTEFIORE, JOSHUA. Synopsis / of / Mercantile Laws, / with an / 
Appendix: / Containing the most approved forms of notarial and 
commercial / precedents, special and common, required hi the daily / 
transaction of business. / By Merchants, Traders, Notaries, Attornies, 
&c. / A New Edition / Revised, corrected and enlarged, with refer- 
ence to the / alterations effected by the revised statutes / of the State 
of New- York. /By Joshua Montefiore: /Attorney, Solicitor, and 
Notary Public, Author of the Commercial Diction- / ary, Notarial 
and Commercial Precedents, Law of Insolvents, / &c. &c. &c. / 
New-York: / G. & C. & H. Carvill. / 1830. 

8vo, pp. xxvii, [164], 336, [2]. University of Pennsylvania. 

85. NEW YORK, HESRA HASED VA AMET. Hebra Hased Va Amet. / To 
the Ladies / of the /Jewish Persuasion. / The Committee appointed 
by the Hebra Hased Va Amet, to adopt such measures as / may be 
deemed expedient for the formation of a Society of the Ladies ...// 
Isaac B. Seixas, / Myer Levy, / Aaron H. Judah, / Solomon Seixas, / 
Samuel N. Judah. / New York, isth March, 1830. [New York: 1830] 

8vo, broadside. American Jewish Historical Society (Lyons Collec- 




86. HAYS, ISAAC, ed* Elements / of / Physics, / or / Natural Philos- 
ophy, / General and Medical, / explained independently of / Tech- 
nical Mathematics, / and containing / new disquisitions and practical 
suggestions. / In Two Volumes. / Vol. L / By Neil Arnott, M.D., / 
of the Royal College of Physicians. / Second American from the 
Fourth London Edition. / With Additions, / By Isaac Hays, A.M., 
M.D., &c. / Philadelphia: / Carey and Lea Chesnut Street. / 1831. 
i2mo, pp. 552. Apparently Hays did not edit the first part of Vol. II 
which appeared the same year. University of Pennsylvania. 

87. m History / of / Chronic Phlegmasiae, / or / Inflamma- 
tions, / founded on / clinical experience and pathological anatomy, / 
exhibiting a view of / the different varieties and complications of these 
diseases, / with their / Various Methods of Treatment. / By F. J. V. 
Broussais, M.D. / [six lines of titles] / Translated from the French of 
the Fourth Edition, / By Isaac Hays, M.D. / and / R. Eglesfield 
Griffith, M.D. / Members of the American Philosophical Society, 
of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Honorary / Members of the 
Philadelphia Medical Society, &c. &c. / Volume L / Philadelphia: / 
Carey & Lea./ 1831. 

8vo, pp. 497. University of Pennsylvania. 

88. . Select / Medico-Chirurgical / Transactions; / A Collec- 
tion / of the / Most Valuable Memoirs / read to the / Medico- 
Chirurgical Societies of London and Edinburgh; the Association / of 
Fellows and Licentiates of the King and Queen's College of / Physi- 
cians in Ireland; the Royal Academy of Medi- / cine of Paris; the Royal 
Societies of London and / Edinburgh; the Royal Academy of Turin; / 
the Medical and the Anatomical So- / cieties of Paris, &c, &c. &c. / 
Edited by Isaac Hays, M.D. / Philadelphia: / E. L. Carey and A. 
Hart, / Fourth and Chesnut St. / 1831. 
8vo, pp. 4, 420. EWa. 

89. LEO-WOLF, JOSEPH. Observations / on the / Prevention and Cure / 
of/ Hydrophobia. / According to the latest publications in Germany. / 
Read before the New- York Medical and Philosophical Society, / By 


Joseph Leo- Wolf, M.D., / Physician in the City of New- York. / [one- 
line quotation from Bacon] / New York: / G. & C. & H. Carvill. / 1831. 
8vo, pp. 31. LCP. 

90. MYERS, MOSES. 2ist Congress, / 2<l Session. / [Doc. No. 70.] / Ho. 
of Reps. / Memorial of Moses Myers. /January 24, 1831. / Referred 
to the Committee of Ways and Means. / . . . / [Washington: 1831.] 

8vo, pp. 2. Asking compensation for outstanding bonds after being 
relieved as collector of the District of Norfolk and Portsmouth in 
1827-30, LCP. 


91. HAYS, ISAAC, ed. Principles /of/ Physiological Medicine, / in the / 
form of propositions, / embracing / Physiology, Pathology, and Thera- 
peutics, / with / Commentaries / on those relating to / Pathology. / By 
F, J. V. Broussais, M.D. / [six lines of titles] / Translated from the 
French, / By Isaac Hays, M.D. / and / R. Eglesfield Griffith, M.D. / 
Members of the American Philosophical Society, of the Academy of 
Natural Sciences, Honorary / Members of the Philadelphia Medical 
Society, &c. &c. / Philadelphia: / Carey & Lea. / 1832. 

8vo, pp. 594. EW2. 

92. Nicholas Biddle / and the / Bank. / Loans and Discounts. / "Fair 
business transactions." / . . . / [1832] 

8vo, pp. 14. Entirely concerned with M. M. Noah's loan from the 
Bank of the United States to buy out his partner in the New Tork 
Courier. LCP. 

93. PEDCOTTO, DANIEL L. M. New York, August i, 1832. / Sir, / I deem 
it my duty to call your attention to the propriety of so modifying the 
observance of the / Fast, which takes place on the ninth of Ab. (Sunday 
next,) as not to expose those who strictly keep it, / to incur the pesti- 
lential disease .../.../ Very respectfully, / Daniel L. M. Peixotto, 
M.D. [New York, 1832] 

4to, broadside. Dropsie College. 

94. PHILLIPS, JONAS ALTAMONT. Philadelphia, August 6, 1832. /At a 
meeting of the Committee of Correspondence, for the / City of Phila- 



delphia .../.../ S. Badger, Chairman. / J. A. Phillips, Secretary. / 
Address / Of the Committee of Correspondence for the City of Phila- / 
delphia, appointed by the Democratic Convention of the / State of 
Pennsylvania, held at Harrisburg, March 5, 1832. / . . . / [colopkon:] 
Printed by Mifflin & Parry, at the office of "The Pennsylvanian," / 
No. 59 Locust street, Philadelphia. [1832] 

8vo, pp. 8. Phillips was also one of the signers of the address. EW2. 


95. [GRATZ, MICHAEL.] 2$d Congress, ist Session. / [Rep. No. 71.] / 
Ho. of Reps. / Michael Gratz. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 81.] / 
December 23, 1833. / Mr. Marshall, from the Committee on Revolu- 
tionary Claims, made the / following / Report: / . . . [Washington, 


8vo, p. i. Ordering the payment of the continental loan office 
certificates, issued to Gratz in 1779 for supplies bought in the West 
Indies. LCP. 

96. [HOLFORD, GEORGE PETER.] The /Destruction /of /Jerusalem, / 
An Absolute and Irresistable / Proof / of the Divine Origin of / 
Christianity: / Including a Narrative of the / Calamities which Befel 
the Jews. / So far as they tend to verify / Our Lord's Predictions / 
Relative to that Event. / With a Brief Description of the / City and 
Temple. / Millbury, Mass: / Printed and Published by B. T, Albro. / 

24mo, pp. 96, with frontispiece* AAS. 

97. The / Manners and Customs / of the Jews, / and other Nations 
mentioned in the Bible. / Illustrated by 120 Engravings. / First 
American Edition. / Hartford: / Published by Henry Benton. / 

I2mo, pp. vi, 172. This was included in error; it is Rosenbach 362. 

98. PONTE, LORENZO DA. A / History / of the / Florentine Republic: / 
and of /The Age and Rule /of /The Medici. / By / Lorenzo L. 
Da Ponte, / Professor of Ital. Lit. in the University of the City of 



New-York. / Vol. I (-II). / New-York: / Collins and Hannay. / W. E. 
Dean, Printer. / 1833. 

2 vols., ismOj pp. 285; 293. LCP. 



und / Neben-Gesetze / der / Vereinigten hebraischen wohlthatigen 
Gesellschaft / von Baltimore, / errichtet in dem Monate tns^7 / ntwi / 
amn antf* fip'li / Baltimore. / Gedruckt bey Johann T. Hanzsche, 
Nord-Eutawstrasse. / 1834. 

i6mo, pp. 48. English title-page supplied. MW. 

100. BENJAMIN, JUDAH P., and SLIDELL, THOMAS. Digest / of the/ 

Reported Decisions / of the / Superior Court of the late Territory of / 
Orleans, / and of the / Supreme Court / of the / State of Louisiana. / 
By / J. P. Benjamin and T. Slidell, / Attorneys at Law. / New Orle- 
ans: / Printed by J. F. Carter, / Camp Street. / 1834. 
8vo, pp. 479. Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. 

101. COHEN, E. A., & co. For 1834. / A / Full Directory, / for / Wash- 
ington City, Georgetown, / and / Alexandria: Containing / [18 lines] / 
Stages, Etc. / By E. A. Cohen & Co. / Pennsylvania Avenue, two 
doors below Gadsby's. / Washington City, / Wm. Greer. / 1834. 

8vo, pp. 56, 21, 62, 22, (4). LCP. 

102. LEVY, AARON. Catalogue / of / Books, / being / the Libraries of 
the late / Honourable Cadwalader D. Golden, and Right /Rev. 
Bishop Provost, / To be sold at Auction, / on / Tuesday Evening, May 
6th, / And continued until the whole is Sold, / By Aaron Levy, / in 
the / Large Sales Room, No. 128, Broadway, / Sale to commence at 
7 o'clock. / New- York: / Vinten & Elton, Printers, & Wood Engrav- 
ers, / 72 Bowery. [1834] 

i2mo, pp. 33. AAS. 

103. LEVY, URIAH PHILLIPS. 23d Congress, / ist Session. / [Doc. No. 
240.] / Ho. of Reps. / Statue of Jefferson. / Letters / from / Lieuten- 
ant Levy, of the United States Navy, / Presenting to Congress a 



statue of Thomas Jefferson. / March 25, 1834. /Referred to the 
Committee on the Library. / . . . / [Washington:] Gales & Seaton, 
print. [1834] 
8vo, p. i. LGP. 


sion. / [364] / Memorial and Resolutions / of / the Citizens of Norfolk 
County, Virginia, / Against the measures of the Executive in removing 
the Deposites from / the Bank of the United States. / May 13, 1834. / 
. . . / [Washington: 1834.] 

8vo, pp. 6. John B. Levy signed the memorial as chairman of the 
citizens' committee. LCP. 

105. [PHILLIPS, ZALEGMAN.] 23d Congress, / ist Session. / [83] / Pro- 
ceedings / of a / Meeting of Democratic Citizens of Philadelphia, / In 
favor of the removal of the Public Deposites from the Bank of the / 
United States. / February 10, 1834. /Referred to the Committee of 
Finance, and ordered to be printed. / , . . / [Washington: 1834.] 

8vo, pp. 5. The text is largely the preamble and resolutions of 
Phillips, which the meeting unanimously adopted. LCP. 

1 06. [RUNDALL, MARY ANN.] The /Juvenile Sacred History, / contain- 
ing the / Principal Events / recorded in / The Old Testament, / with 
an account of the Jewish Literature, / Manners, Customs and An- 
tiquities; the Weights and Measures, and Nummary / Value of all the 
Jewish Coins, / reduced to the American Standard: with an Ex-/ 
planation of the / Hebrew Names; / and Geographical Sketches of 
the / Twelve Tribes, / accompanied with six maps; / and a set of 
appropriate questions for / Examination of Students. / Third Edition 
revised. / By / C. W. Bazeley, A.M. / Principal of the Brooklyn 
Collegiate / Institute. / Brooklyn: / Printed for the Author; and sold 
by William / Bigelow, 55 Fulton-street. / 1834. 

I2mo, pp. 228, frontispiece and five maps and charts on yellow 
paper. EWs. 


gress, /2d Session. / [Doc. No. 41.] /Ho. of Reps. / War Dept. / 


David Cooke. / Report / of / the Secretary of War, / On the claim 
of David Cooke. / December 27, 1834. / . . . / [Washington:] Gales & 
Seaton, print. [1834] 

8vo, pp. 5. Simon Gratz was attorney for one of the parties involved. 


1 08. CAREY, EDWARD L., and HART, ABRAHAM. Trade List of Books, / 
Published, and Offered for Sale to the Trade, by / E. L. Carey and 
A. Hart, / Philadelphia. /January i, 1835. / . . . / [Philadelphia: 
Carey and Hart, 1835.] 

4to, broadside. EW2. 

io8a. [GRATZ, JACOB.] Annual Report / of the / Managers / of the / 
Union Canal Company / of / Pennsylvania, / to / The Stockholders. / 
November 17, 1835. / Philadelphia: / Printed fo r R - p - Desilver. / 

8vo, pp. n, (3). Signed by Gratz as president. LCP. 

io8b. JUDAH, SAMUEL B. H. David and Uriah. /A Drama, /in five 
acts; / founded on the exploits of the man after / God's own heart. / 
(two-line quotation from Epictetus] / Philadelphia: / Published by the 
author. / 1835. 

I2mo, pp. 35. American Jewish Historical Society. 

109. LEO-WOLF, WILLIAM (or WERNER). Remarks / on / The Abraca- 
dabra / of the / Nineteenth Century; /or on / Dr. Samuel Hahne- 
mann's / Homoeopathic Medicine, / with particular reference to / 
Dr. Constantine Bering's / "Concise View of the Rise and Progress of 
Homoeopathic Medicine," Philadelphia. 1833. / B 7 William Leo- 
Wolf, M.D. / [four-line quotation from Pope] /New-York: 1835. /Pub- 
lished by Carey, Lea and Blanchard, in Philadelphia. 

8vo, pp. 272. LCP. 

no. [PORTER, DAVID.] Constantinople / and Its Environs. / In a Series 
of Letters, / exhibiting / the actual state of the manners, customs, and 



habits of/ the Turks, Armenians, Jews, and Greeks, as modified / by 
the policy of Sultan Mahmoud. / By an American, / long resident at 
Constantinople. / In Two Volumes. / Vol. I (-II). / New-York: / 
Published by Harper & Brothers, / No. 82 Cliff-Street. / 1835. 
2 vols., i2mo, pp. 280; 323. LCP. 


in. HEINE, HEINRIGH. Letters / Auxiliary to the history of/ Modern 
Polite Literature / in Germany. / By Heinrich Heine, / Translated 
from the German, /By G. W. Haven. /Boston: /James Munroe & 
Company. / 1836. 

I2mo, pp. vi, 172. MW. 

ma. [GRATZ, JACOB.] Annual Report /of/ The Managers / of the / 
Union Canal Company / of Pennsylvania, / to / The Stockholders. / 
November 15, 1836. / Philadelphia: / Printed by Charles Alexander, / 
Athenian Buildings, Franklin Place. / 1836. 

8vo, pp. 7, (3). Signed by Gratz as president. LCP, 

112. [LEVY, NATHAN.] 24th Congress, / ist Session./ [Rep. No. 705.] 
Ho. of Reps. / Nathan Levy. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 658.] / 
May 31, 1836. /Mr. Cushman, from the Committee on Commerce, 
made the following / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Blair & Rives, 
printers. [1836] 

8vo, p. i . Concerning claim for money paid by Levy as American 
Consul at St. Thomas in 1832. LCP. 


113. GATHERWOOD, FREDERICK. Description / of / A View of the City / 
of /Jerusalem / and / the Surrounding Country, / Now Exhibiting / 
at / The Panorama, Charles Street. / Painted by Robert Burford, / 
from Drawings Taken in 1834, / by F. Catherwood, Architect. / 
Boston: / Printed by Perkins and Marvin. / 1837. 

8vo, pp. 12, folding plate. AAS. 

114. A / Compendium / of /Jewish History, / exhibited hi the form 
of a / Catechism, / designed / for the use of Sabbath Schools / Second 


Edition, / Revised and Corrected. / Boston: / Abel Tompkins, / Uni- 
versalist Sabbath School Depository / Cornhill. / 1837. 
I2mo, pp. 50. HUG. 

115. [LEVY, NATHAN.] 25th Congress, / sd Session. / [Rep. No. 87.] / 
Ho. of Reps. / Nathan Levy. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 103.] / 
December 22, 1837. /Mr. Cushman, from the Committee on Com- 
merce, made the following / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Thomas 
Allen, print. [1837] 
8vo, p. i. LCR 


1 1 6. FEUCHTWANGER, LEWIS. A / Treatise on Gems, / in reference to 
their / Practical and Scientific Value; / A useful guide for the jewel- 
ler, amateur, artist, lapidary, / mineralogist, and chemist. Accom- 
panied by a de- / scription of the most interesting American / gems, 
and ornamental and arch- / itectural materials. / By Dr. Lewis 
Feuchtwanger, / Chemist and Mineralogist, Member of the New York 
Lyceum of Natural History, and of the / Mineralogical Societies of 
Jena, Altenburg, etc. etc. etc. / New- York: / Printed by A. Hanford. / 

8vo, pp. 162. EW2. 

117. HAYS, ISAAC, ed. Elements/of /Physics; /or, /Natural Philos- 
ophy, / General and Medical: / written for / universal use, / in / 
Plain or Non-Technical Language; / and containing / new disquisi- 
tions and practical suggestions. / In Two Volumes. / Vol. I. /By 
Neil Arnott, M.D., / of the Royal College of Physicians. / Fourth 
American, from the Fifth English Edition, / With Additions, / By 
Isaac Hays, M.D. / Philadelphia: / Lea & Blanchard, / Successors to 
Carey & Co. / 1838. 

8vo, pp. 592. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


1 1 8. JUDAH, SAMUEL, and PARKER, SAMUEL w. Speeches / of Samuel 
Judah, of Knox, / and S. W. Parker, of Fayette Counties, / in answer 



to the charge of / Amos Lane, of Dearborn County, / that the internal 
improvement system was a Democratic Whig measure. [1839?] 
8vo, pp. 14. Indiana State Library. 

119. [LEVY, E.] The Republican Bank: / being / An Essay /on the 
Present System of / Banking: / showing its evil tendency and develop- 
ing an entire- / ly new method of establishing a currency, / which will 
not be at all subject / to the various ill effects / of our present / paper 
money. /By /A Citizen of Indiana. / Price 25 Cts. / Madison: / 
Printed by W. H. Webb Banner Office. / 1839. 

8vo, pp. 24, with wrappers. This was included in error; it is Rosen- 
bach 448. Indiana State Library. 

120. [LEVY, MOSES E.] 25th Congress, / 3d Session. / Rep. No. 236. / 
Ho. of Reps. / Moses E. Levy. /January 26, 1839. / Read, and laid 
upon the table. / Mr. Saltonstall, from the Committee of Claims, sub- 
mitted the fol- / lowing / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Thomas Al- 
len, print. [1839] 

8vo, pp. 2. Concerning the claim of Levy for the destruction of his 
property by United States troops during the Indian War in Florida. 

121. [LEVY, NATHAN.] 25th Congress, / 3d Session. / Rep. No. 238. / 
Ho. of Reps. / Nathan Levy. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 1099.] / 
February 6, 1839. / Mr. Cushman, from the Committee on Commerce, 
made the following / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Thomas Allen, 
print. [1839] 

8vo, p. i. LCP. 


122. BENJAMIN, JUDAH P., and SLIDELL, THOMAS. Digest / of the/ 

Reported Decisions / of the / Superior Court of the Late Territory of / 
Orleans, / and of the Supreme Court / of the / State of Louisiana. / 
Originally compiled by /J. P. Benjamin and T. Slidell, Attorneys at 
Law, / and now revised and enlarged by / Thomas Slidell. / New 
Orleans: / E.Johns & Co., Stationers' Hall: / 1840. 
8vo, pp. xii, 758. Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. 



123. CHARLESTON, CITIZENS. Proceedings / of a /Public Meeting of 
the Citizens of Charleston, / held at the City Hall, / on the 28th 
August, 1840; / in relation to the / Persecution of the Jews / in the 
East. / Also, / the proceedings of a meeting / of the / Israelites of 
Charleston, / convened at the / Hall of the Hebrew Orphan Society, / 
on the following evening, / in reference to the same subject. / Charles- 
ton: / Hayden & Burke, Printers, 3 Gillon-Street. / 1840. 

8vo, pp. 32. HUG. 

124. [COHEN, JACOB.] 26th Congress, / ist Session. /Rep. No. 233. / 
Ho. of Reps. / Heirs of Jacob Cohen. / March 5, 1840. / Laid on the 
table. / Mr. Ely, from the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, made 
the fol- / lowing / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Blair & Rives, 
Printers. [1840] 

8vo, p. i. Rejection of the claim of the heirs of Jacob Cohen of 
Virginia for five years 5 pay as captain of cavalry in the Continental 
Army. LCP. 

125. [LEVY, NATHAN.] 26th Congress, / ist Session. / Rep. No. 72. / 
Ho. of Reps. / Nathan Levy. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 59.] / 
March 3, 1840: /Mr. Toland, from the Committee on Commerce, 
made the following / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Blair & Rives, 
printers. [1840] 

8vo, pp. 2. Ordering refund to Nathan Levy, of Boston, of payment 
made to seamen of disabled vessel. LCP. 

Speeches / of / Edward M'Gaughey, of Putnam, Samuel W. Parker, 
of/ Fayette and Samuel Judah of Knox. / [Indianapolis: 1840?] 

8vo, pp. 23. Indiana State Library. 

127, PEDCOTTO, SIMHA c. Elementary Introduction / to the / Scrip- 
tures, / for the / Use of Hebrew Children. / By / Simha C. Peixotto. / 
[two-line quotation from Proverbs] / Philadelphia: / Printed by Haswell, 
Barrington, and Haswell. / 5600 [1840]. 

i2mo, pp. 196. EW2. 



I27a. PHILLIPS, PHILIP. Digest of Cases / decided and reported in / the 
Supreme Court of the State of Alabama, /from/ ist Alabama Re- 
ports to yth Porter inclusive; / with the / Rules of Court and Prac- 
tice, / and / a Table of Titles and Cases; to which are appended, / 
the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution of the United / 
States; the Act to enable the People of Alabama to form / a Constitu- 
tion and State Government, etc.; the / Constitution of the State of 
Alabama; / and the Fee Bill established / by Law. / By P. Phillips, / 
Counsellor at Law. / [3-line quotation^ / Mobile: / Printed and Pub- 
lished by R. R. Dade and J. S. Kellogg & Co. / 1840. 

8vo, pp. xlviii, 9-350. Circuit Court Library, Birmingham, Alabama. 

128. UNITED STATES, CONGRESS, SENATE. 26th CongTCSS, / ISt Session. / 

[Senate.] / [437] / In Senate of the United States. / April 28, 1840. / 
Submitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Hubbard made the 
following / Report: / The Committee of Claims, to whom was referred 
the memorial of Susan / Murphy, report: / . . . / [Washington:] Blair 
& Rives, printers. [1840] 
8vo, pp. 7. David Levy was attorney for the memorialist. LCP. 



Circular. / Philadelphia, Ab, 5601, July, 1841. /To the President 
and Members of Congregation at / the 

Israelites of Philadelphia, send greeting. / Brethren! /.../! L. 
Hackenburg, / Lewis Allen, / Isaac Leeser, / Simon Elfelt, / Mayer 
Arnold, / Henry Cohen, /Jacob Ulman. / Committee. [Philadelphia: 

Folio, pp. 3. A call for a union of the Hebrew congregations of the 
United States. EW2. 

130. HAYS, ISAAC, ed. Elements/of /Physics; /or, /Natural Philos- 
ophy, / General and Medical: / written for / universal use, / in / 
plain or non-technical language; / and containing / new disquisitions 
and practical suggestions. / Comprised in Five Parts, ist, Somatology, 
Statics, / and Dynamics. / 2nd, Mechanics. / 3rd, Pneumatics, Hy- 
draulics, and / Acoustics. / 4th, Heat and Light. / 5th, Animal and 



Medical Physics. / Complete in One Volume. / By Neil Arnott, 
M.D., / of the Royal College of Physicians. / A Nefa Edition, revised 
and corrected from the last English Edition, / With Additions, / By 
Isaac Hays, M.D., / Philadelphia: / Lea & Blanchard. / 1841. 
I2mo, pp. 520, [16]. University of Pennsylvania. 

131. [JUDAH, SAMUEL.] State of New- York. / No. 78. / In Assembly, / 
January 27, 1841. / Communication / From the Governor, trans- 
mitting a resolution of the / General Assembly of Indiana, relative to 
an / amendment to the Constitution of the United / States. / . . . / 
[Albany: 1841.] 

8vo, pp. 2. Signed by Samuel Judah as Speaker of the Indiana House. 

132. . / 26th Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / [197] /Reso- 
lutions / of / the General Assembly of Indiana, / in relation / To the 
completion of the Cumberland Road. / February 17, 1841. / . . . / 
[Washington:] Blair & Rives, printers. [1841] 

8vo, pp. 4. One of the resolutions was signed by Judah as Speaker of 
the Indiana House. LCP. 

133. . / 26th Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / [207] / Reso- 
lutions / of / the General Assembly of Indiana, / in relation / To the 
distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands. / February 
22, 1841. / . . . / [Washington:] Blair & Rives, printers. [1841] 

8vo, pp. 3. One of the resolutions was signed by Judah as Speaker 
of the Indiana House. LCP. 

134. . 26th Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / [208] / Reso- 
lution / of / The General Assembly of Indiana, / on the subject / Of 
raising revenue by duties on foreign goods. / February 22, 1841.7 
. . . / [Washington:] Blair & Rives, printers. [1841] 
8vo, p. i . Signed by Judah as Speaker of the Indiana House. LCP. 

135- s6th Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / [209] / Resolu- 
tions / of / the General Assembly of Indiana, / in relation / To the 
bill "to establish a permanent prospective pre-emption system in/ 
favor of settlers on the public lands who shall inhabit and cultivate 



the /same, and raise a log-cabin thereon." / February 22, 1841.7 
/ [Washington:] Blair & Rives, printers. [1841] 

8vo, p. i. Signed by Judah as Speaker of the Indiana House. LCP, 

1 36. LEVY, DAVID. Speech /of/ Mr. Levy, of Florida, / on his motion / 
To postpone to the next session the consideration of the report and 
reso- / lution of the Committee of Elections respecting his eligibility to 
a seat / as Delegate. Delivered September 6, 1841. / . . . / [Washing- 
ton: 1841.] 

8vo, pp. 7. HUG. 

137. 27th Congress, / i st Session. / Res. No. i./Ho. of 

Reps, / Seminole Indians. /July 29, 1841. /Read, laid upon the 
table, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Levy submitted the following / 
Resolutions. / . . . [Washington, 1841.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

jjjg, 9 1 g^th Congress, / ist Session. / Rep, No. 10. / Ho. of 

Reps. / David Levy. / September 3, 1841. / Read, and laid upon the 
table. / Mr. Halsted, from the Committee of Elections, submitted the 
following / Report: / . . . [Washington: 1841.] 

8vo, pp. 45. Concerning the right of David Levy (Yulee) to a seat 
in the House of Representatives. EWa. 

139. LIPMAN, HYMEN L. Diary, / for / 1842: / or / Daily Register, / 
for the use of /private families, / and / Persons of Business: / con- 
taining / a blank for every day hi the year, for the record / of events 
that may be interesting, / either past or future. / Published yearly, / 
By Hymen L. Lipman, / (successor to Samuel M. Stewart,) / Stationer 
& Blank Book Binder, / No. 139 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia [1841] 

i2mo, pp. 126. HUG. 

140. [MORDECAI, ALFRED.] Ordnance Manual / for / The Use of the 
Officers / of the / United States Army. / Washington: / J. and G. S. 
Gideon, Printers. / 1841. 

8vo, pp. xi, 359, and 15 plates. LCP. 

141. . / 26th Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / [229] / Doc- 
uments / relating / To the improvements of the system of artillery. / 



March 2, 1841. / Submitted by Mr. Benton, and ordered to be 
printed. / . . . / [Washington: 1841.] 

8vo, pp. in. Captain Alfred Mordecai was one of four Ordnance 
officers who wrote the report. LCP. 


142. [ANLEY, CHARLOTTE.] Miriam; /or, /The Power of Truth. /A 
Jewish Tale. / By the Author of "Influence." / A new Edition, Revised 
and Improved, / with an / Introduction / by / Rev. John Todd, / 
. . . / Philadelphia: / Griffith & Simon, 188 North Third Street, / 
and / 384 North Second Street. / 1842. 

I2mo, pp. 292. AAS. 

143. [COHEN, JACOB.] 27th Congress, / 2d Session. / Rep. No. 371. / 
Ho. of Reps. / Representatives of Jacob Cohen. / March 8, 1842. / 
Laid upon the table. / Mr. Hall, from the Committee on Revolu- 
tionary Claims, made the following adverse / Report: / . . . [Washing- 
ton, 1842.] 

8vo, pp. 3. LCP. 

144. [JUDAH, SAMUEL BENJAMIN HALBERT.] Spirit /of/ Fanaticism: / 
A / Poetical Rhapsody. / [four-line quotation] / New- York: / Published 
at the "Beacon" Office, / 94 Roosevelt-Street. / 1842. 

I2mo, pp. 12. EW2. 

145. [LEVY, DAVID.] 27th Congress, /2d Session. / Rep. No. 450. / 
Ho. of Reps. / David Levy. / March 15, 1842, / Read, and laid upon 
the table. / Mr. Barton, from the Committee of Elections, to which 
the subject had / been referred, submitted the following / Report: / 
. . . / [Washington, 1842.] 

8vo, pp. 154, 6, 3. Concerning the right of David Levy (Yulee) of 
Florida to his seat in the House of Representatives. EW2. 

j^S, . / 27th Congress, / 3d Session. / Doc. No. 15. / Ho. of 

Reps. / Florida Contested Election. / December 14, 1842. / Laid upon 
the table. / . , . [Washington, 1842.] 
8vo, pp. 13. LCP. 



147. [LEVY, SARAH.] 27th Congress, / sd Session. / [Senate.] / [44] / 
In the Senate of the United States. /January n, 1842. / Ordered to 
be printed. / Mr. Smith, of Indiana, submitted the following / Re- 
port: / The Committee on Public Lands, to whom were referred the 
petition and papers of Sarah Levy, of Camden, South Carolina, 
report: / . . , / [Washington:] Thomas Allen, print. [1842] 

8vo, p. i. Concerning the claim of Sarah Levy to the right of pre- 
emption of land in Mississippi occupied and cultivated by her son, 
CoL Chapman Levy. LCP. 

148. [LYON, ABRAHAM,] 27th Congress, / 2d Session. / Rep. No. 257. / 
Ho. of Reps. / Abraham Lyon. / February 26, 1842. / Read, and laid 
upon the table. / Mr. Jones, of Maryland, from the Committee on 
Invalid Pensions, submitted the following / Report: / . . . / [Washing- 
ton: 1842.] 

8vo, p. i. Turning down the petition of Abraham Lyon, of Spring- 
field, Clark County, Ohio, for an increase of pension because of wounds 
suffered in military service. LCP. 

149. LYONS, MORDEGAI, and HART, THOMAS. Catalogue / of a Rare and 
Valuable Collection / of fine modern and old / Engravings, / the 
various masters of the celebrated / schools, / Rare Etchings & Original 
Drawings, / and / Curious & Rare Old Works, Illustrated. / The 
greater part of this collection has been / lately collected in Europe. / 
Lyons & Hart, Auctioneers, / will sell on / Friday and Saturday 
Evenings, Oct. 7th and 8th, / at seven o'clock, / at their / Public 
Sale Rooms, / N. E. Corner of Chesnut and Fourth Streets. Up 
Stairs, / . . . / "United States" Job Printing Office, Ledger Bulling 
[sic], Philad'a [1842]. 

8vo, pp. 24. LCP. 

1 50. . Catalogue / of a / very valuable collection / of old line / 

Engravings, Etchings, / Fac-similes, Mezzotintos, Drawings, / and / 
Books on the Arts, / collected during many years, for the pleasure and / 
improvement of the owner. / Lyons & Hart, Auctioneers, / will sell 
on /Friday Evening, 3oth inst., & Saturday, Oct. ist, / at seven 
o'clock, / at their / Public Sale Rooms, / N. E. Corner of Chesnut 


and Fourth Streets. Up Stairs. / . . . / "United States" Job Printing 
Office, Ledger Builing [sic], Philad'a [1842]. 
8vo, pp. 16. LCP. 


151. BISHOP, MARGARET L. An Answer / to the / Prevalent Inquiry/ 
"What Strange Doctrine is This?" / In Three Chapters. / By Mar- 
garet L. Bishop, / Native of Scotland. / Member of the Society sur- 
named Israelites. / New York: / Printed at the Herald Printing 
Establishment, 97 Nassau Street / 1843. 

8vo, pp. 16. HUG. 

i52a. HAYS, ISAAC, ed. A / Treatise / on the / Diseases of the Eye. / 
By / W. Lawrence, F. R. S. / [four lines of titles] / From the last 
London Edition, / with numerous additions, and / Sixty-Seven Illus- 
trations. / By Isaac Hays, M.D., / Surgeon to Will's Hospital, Phy- 
sician to the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum, / Member of the American 
Philosophical Society, &c., &c., &c. / Philadelphia: / Lea & Blan- 
chard. / 1843. 

8vo, pp. 778. EW2. 

152. PYKE, E. Scriptural Questions. / for the / Use of Sunday Schools / 
for / the Instruction of Israelites. / Compiled / by E. Pyke. / Phila- 
delphia: / Printed by L. R. Bailey, 26 North Fifth Street. / 1843. 

I2mo, pp. 1 8. American Jewish Historical Society. 

153. TENTLER, AARON A. A / New System / for / Measuring and 
Gutting / Ladies' Dresses. / Cloaks, Collars, Capes, Yokes, &c. / with 
an / Arithmetical Table, / For which the Author received a Patent 
from the United States. / By Aaron A. Tentler. / New- York: / Robert 
Craighead, Printer, 112 Fulton Street, / 1843. 

I2mo, pp. 1 8. Copyrighted hi Philadelphia hi 1842. EW2. 


154. [CARDOZA, SARAH.] 28th Congress, / ist Session, / [Senate.] / 
[327] / In Senate of the United States. / May 6, 1844. / Submitted, 



and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Bates made the following / Report: / 
. . . [Washington, 1844.] 

8vo, p. i . Denying the petition of Sarah Gardoza for the increase 
of her pension. LCP. 

155. GRESSON, WARDER. Jerusalem / the / Centre and Joy /of /The 
Whole Earth / and / The Jew / The Recipient of the Glory of God / 
[six lines of quotations] / By Warder Cresson / Philadelphia: /Jesper 
Harding, Printer / 1844 

I2mo, pp. in. Abraham Karp. 

156. MORDEGAI, ALFRED, Third Report / of / Meteorological Observa- 
tions, / made at / Frankford Arsenal, near Philadelphia. / By Captain 
Alfred Mordecai, / of the United States Ordnance Department. / 1844, 

4to, pp. 8. Copy formerly in possession of Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach, 
now unlocated. 


ican Jewish Publication Society, to the Friends of Jewish Literature. / 
. . . / Philadelphia, / Deer. 10, 1845. / Kislev 1 1, 5606. / Isaac Leeser, / 
Corresponding Secretary of the American Jewish Publication Society. 
[Philadelphia: 1845] 

4to, broadside. Dropsie College. 

158. . Constitution / and / By-Laws / of the / American Jew- 
ish Publication / Society. / (Founded on the gth of Heshvan, 5606.) / 
Adopted at Philadelphia, / on Sunday, November 30, 1845, Kislev i, 
5606. / Philadelphia: / C. Sherman, Printer. / 5606 [1845]. 
i2mo, pp. ii. EW2. 

159. CASTANIS, c. PLATO. A / Love Tale. / The / Jewish Maiden of 
Scio's Citadel, / or / The Eastern Star, / and / The Albanian Chief. / 
By / C. Plato Castanis, / of Scio, Greece. / Author of An Essay on 
Ancient and Modern Greek Languages; / Interpretations of the 
Attributes of the Principal Fabulous Deities, / and The Exile of 
Scio. / Second Edition. / Copy-right secured. / Philergomathia: / 
1845. / Price, 12^ Cents. 
8vo, pp. 24, (i). HUG. 



160. A / Compendium / of /Jewish History. / Boston: / A. Tompkins, 
38 Cornhill. / 1845. 

I2mo, pp. 50. HUG. 

161. MORDECAI, ALFRED. Report / of / Experiments on Gunpowder, / 
made at / Washington Arsenal, / in / 1843 and 1844. / By / Captain 
Alfred Mordecai, / of the Ordnance Department. / Washington: / 
Printed by J. and G. S. Gideon, / 1845. 

8vo, pp. viii, 328, and six plates. EWa. 


162. [DE LEON, M. H.] 29th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / [236] / 
In Senate of the United States. / March 18, 1846. / Submitted, and 
ordered to be printed. / Mr. Ashley made the following / Report: / 
/ [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, print. [1846] 

8vo, p. i . Approving the memorial of M. H. De Leon, as executor of 
Thomas Cooper, for reimbursement of a fine imposed under the 
Sedition Act of 1798. LCP. 

163. [ETTING, HENRY.] 2gth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / 
[110] /In Senate of the United States. / February 3, 1846. /Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Fairfield made the following / 
Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, print. [1846] 

8vo, p. i. Approving claim of Henry Etting for legal expenses con- 
nected with suit brought by him for damages incurred while he was 
purser in the United States Navy at Pensacola in 1838. LCP, 

164. HAYS, ISAAC, ed< A / Dictionary / of / Terms Used in Medicine / 
and the Collateral Sciences. / By / Richard D. Hoblyn, A. M. Oxon. / 
First American, from the Second London, Edition. / Revised, with 
numerous additions, / By Isaac Hays, M.D., / Editor of the American 
Journal of the Medical Sciences, / Philadelphia: / Lea & Blanchard. / 


I2mo, pp. 402 [8]. University of Pennsylvania. 

165. LEVIN, LEWIS CHARLES, 2gth Congress, / ist Session. / Rep. No. 
253. / Ho. of Reps. / Dry Dock. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 2 16 .] / 
February 12, 1846. / Mr. Levin, from the Committee on Commerce, 



made the following / Report: / . . . / [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, 
print. [1846]. 
8vo, pp. 4. LCP. 

166. . Speech /of/ Hon. L. C. Levin, of Pennsylvania, / on 

the / Oregon Question. / In the House of Representatives, January 9, 
1846 . . . / [Washington, 1846] 
8vo, pp. 8. LCP. 

167. . Speech / of / Mr. L. C. Levin, of Pennsylvania, / on 

the bill to raise / A Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. / Delivered in 
the House of Representatives of the United States, April 7, 1846. / 
Washington: / J. & G. S. Gideon, Printers. / 1846. 
8vo, pp. 1 6. LCP. 

1 68. NEW YORK, GEMILETH CHESED. State of New-York. / No. 62. / 
In Assembly, /January 22, 1846. / Introduced on notice by Mr. 
Stevenson, read twice, and referred to the / committee on charitable 
and religious societies; reported from said committee, / and committed 
to the committee of the whole. / An Act / To incorporate the Gemileth 
Chesed or Hebrew Mu- / tual Benefit Society of the city of New- 
York. / . . . / [Albany: 1846] 
Folio, pp. 2. HUG. 

169. , HEBREW ASSISTANCE SOCIETY. State of New-York. / No. 

243. / In Assembly, / February 24, 1846. / Reported by Mr. Fleet, 
from the committee on charitable and religious socie- / ties read 
twice, and committed to the committee of the whole. / An Act / For 
the incorporation of the New-York Hebrew As- / sistance Society, for 
the relief of Widows and Or- / phans, / . . . / [Albany: 1846.] 
Folio, pp. 2. HUG. 

170. [PAGE, BEN.] The /Doctrines /of / Spinoza and Swedenborg/ 
Identified; / so far as they claim a scientific ground. / In / four 
letters. /By ***/ United States Army. /Boston: /Published by 
Munroe and Francis. / New York: / Charles S. Francis & Co. / 
8vo, pp. 36. HUG. 



Hebrew Ball, / in aid of the / German / Hebrew Female Benevolent 
Society, / at the / Chinese Museum, Upper Saloon, / with Bazaar 
Fixtures, / Wednesday Evening, January 28, 1846. / . . . [Philadel- 
phia, 1846.] 

8vo, broadside. Invitation, printed in gold. EWa. 

172. RICHMOND, BETH SHALOME. "Dl^P H^ tPHp ^Plp" / To OUr Con- 

tributor's and Israelitish Brethren of the State of Virginia: / Brethren: / 
The period is near at hand when we shall be called upon to elect a / 
Hazan of this Congregation, . . . /Jacob A. Levy, / Henry Hyman, / 
Jacob Ezekiel. / Trustees. / Richmond, August loth, 1846. / Mena- 
chem 1 8th, 5606. / [Richmond: 1846.] 

4to, broadside. HUG (Ezekiel Scrapbook). 

173. SUE, EUGENE. Der ewige Jude / von / Eugen Sue. / Erste ameri- 
kanisch-deutsche Ausgabe. / [four-line quotation^ / Erster [-Zweiter] 
Band. / Philadelphia, 1846. / Herausgegeben von L. A. Wollenweber 
No. 277 Nord Dritte Strasse. 

2 vols., 8vo, pp. v. 513; 576, (i). EW2. 

174. YULEE, DAVID [LEVY], sgth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / 
[126] /In Senate of the United States. / February n, 1846. /Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / [To accompany bill S. No. 81.] /The Committee on Pri- 
vate Land Claims, to whom was referred the peti- / tion of Benja- 
min Ballard, report: / . . . / [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, print. 

8vo, p. i.LCP. 

175- - 2gth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / [240] / In Sen- 
ate of the United States. / March 23, 1846. / Submitted, and ordered 
to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / Report: / [To ac- 
company bill S. No. 129.] / The Committee on Private Land Claims, 
to whom was referred the peti- / tion of Robert Barclay, of the 
State of Missouri, report: / . . . [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, print. 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 



176. . agth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate] . / [328] / In Sen- 
ate of the United States. / May 4, 1846. / Ordered to be 'printed. / 
Mr. Yulee submitted the following / Report: / [To accompany bill S. 
No. 173.] /The Committee on Private Land Claims, to whom was 
referred the peti- / tion of William Pumphrey, report: / . . . / [Wash- 
ington:] Ritchie & Heiss, printers. [1846] 
8vo, pp. 5. LCP. 


177. [DE LEON, M. H.] 2gth Congress, / ad Session. / [Senate.] / [180] / 
In Senate of the United States. / February 25, 1847. / Submitted, 
and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Ashley made the following / Report: / 
, . . / [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, print. [1847] 

8vo, p. i . Concerning the memorial of M. H. De Leon. LCP, 

178. HAMMOND, R. p. Head Quarters. / Tampico Troops. / Tampico, 
Mexico, January ist. 1847. / Orders. N? 15. / 1. For the purpose of 
regulating the collection and disbursement of the pu- / blic revenue 
of Tampico, the following gentlemen to wit, Jose Maria Boeta, / Juan 
Haro, Juan G. Castilla, Henry Levi and P. B. Taylor will constitute 
a / municipal committee .../.,./ By order of Brig. Genl. Shields, / 
R. P. Hammond. / Assist. Adjt. Genl. / . . . [Tampico, Mexico: 1847.] 

Folio, pp. 2. With Spanish translation. HUG. 

179. HAYS, ISAAC, ed. The Principles and Practice /of Ophthalmic 
Medicine and Surgery. / By / T, Wharton Jones, FJR.S., / . . . with 
one hundred and two illustrations. / Edited / By Isaac Hays, M.D., / 
Surgeon to Wills Hospital, Etc. / Philadelphia: / Lea and Blanchard. / 

i2mo, pp. xx, 509. MW. 

1 80. . Report / Of the Committee appointed under the 6th 

Resolution, adopted / by the National Medical Convention which 
assembled hi New /York, in May, 1846. [cap. title] [Philadelphia, 

8vo, pp. 12. Isaac Hays was a member of this committee to draw 
up a code of Medical Ethics. LCP. 



181. . A Treatise /on the /Diseases of the Eye. /By/ W. 

Lawrence, F.R.S., / [four lines of titles] / A New Edition. / Edited with 
Numerous Additions, and / One Hundred and Seventy-Six Illustra- 
tions, / By Isaac Hays, M.D., / Surgeon to Wills' Hospital; Physician 
to the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum; / Member of the American 
Philosophical Society; Fellow of the / College of Physicians, etc. etc. / 
Philadelphia: / Lea and Blanchard. / 1847. 
8vo, pp. 859, 32. University of Pennsylvania. 

182. TURNEY, HOPKINS L. Remarks / of / Hon. H. L. Turney, of Ten- 
nessee, / on the resolutions to / Expel the Editors and Reporter of the 
Washington / Union. / Delivered / In the Senate of the United States, 
February 12, 1847. / Washington: / Printed at the Office of Blair and 
Rives. / 1847. 

8vo, pp. 8. The resolution had been offered by David Yulee. HUG. 

183. YULEE, DAVID [LEVY]. 2Qth Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / 
[no] /Statement /of /Vessels in Distress at Key West, /from/ 
January i to December 31, 1846. / February 3, 1847. / Submitted to 
the Senate by Mr, Yulee, referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, 
and ordered / to be printed. . . . / Washington: / Ritchie & Heiss, 
Printers. / 1847. 

8vo, pp. 5. LCP. 

184. . 2gth Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate]. / [140] / In Sen- 
ate of the United States. / February 8, 1847. / Submitted, and ordered 
to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / Report: / [To ac- 
company bill S. No. 153.] /The Committee on Naval Affairs, to 
whom were referred the petition and / documents of the late Andrew 
D. Crosby, a purser in the navy of the / United States, report: / 
. . . / [Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, print. [1847] 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

185. . 2gth Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / [141] / In Sen- 
ate of the United States. / February 8, 1847. / Submitted, and or- 
dered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / Report: / [To 
accompany bill S. No. 154.] / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to 
whom were referred the petition and / documents of William A. 



Christian, a purser in the navy of the United / States, report: / . . . / 
[Washington:] Ritchie & Heiss, printers. [1847] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 


1 86. BRUNETTI, . Description / of / the Model / of / Antient 

Jerusalem, / Illustrative of / the Sacred Scriptures / and the / Writ- 
ings of Josephus. / Boston: / N. Southard and Geo. Bliss. / 1848. 

ismo, pp. 36, folding plate. AAS. 

187. CORDOVA, JACOB DE. Houston, Texas, September 24, 1848. / 
Sir: / Many enquiries having been addressed to me within the 
last six / months respecting Texas Lands and the liquidation of the / 
Public Debt of Texas, .../.../ [Houston: 1848.] 

8vo, pp. 15. LCP. 

1 88. [HART, BENJAMIN F.] 30th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / 
Rep. Com., /No. 157. /In Senate of the United States. /May 18, 
1848. / Submitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the 
following / Report: / [To accompany S. No. 267.] / The Committee 
on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the memo- / rial of the 
representatives of Benjamin F. Hart, deceased, report: / . . . / [Wash- 
ington: 1848.] 

8vo, pp. 2. LCP, 

189. [HAYS, ISAAC.] Code of Ethics / of the / American / Medical 
Association. /Adopted May 1847. /Philadelphia: /T. K. and P. G. 
Collins, Printers. / 1848. 

8vo, pp. 30. Isaac Hays was chairman of the committee which 
reported the code to the National Medical Convention. LCP (presenta- 
tion copy from Hays to Dr. James Rush). 

190. LEVIN, LEWIS CHARLES. Speech / of / Mr. L. C. Levin, of Penn., / 
on / The Proposed Mission to Rome, / Delivered in the House of 
Representatives of the United States, March 2, 1848. / . . . / [Washing- 
ton:] J. & G. S. Gideon, Printers. [1848] 

8vo. pp. 16. LCP. 



l g lm m Thirtieth Congress First Session. / Report No. 106. / 

[To Accompany bill H. R. No. 96.] / House of Representatives. / 
Floating Docks, Basin, and Railways. /January 19, 1848. / Mr. Levin, 
from the Committee on Naval Affairs, made the fol- / lowing / Re- 
port: / . . . / [Washington: 1848] 
8vo, pp. 7. LCP. 

192. [MORDECAI, M. c.] Thirtieth Congress First Session. / Ex. Doc. 
No. 51. / House of Representatives. / Mail from Charleston, Chagres, 
&c. / Letter / from / The Postmaster General, / transmitting / A copy 
of the contract made with M. C. Mordecai for taking the / United 
States mail from Charleston to Havana, . . . / [Washington: 1848.] 

8vo, pp. ii. Mordecai was resident in Charleston, S. C. LCP. 


Hebrew Benev. Society. / Charity well applied, is a blessing as well to 
him who bestows as to him / who receives. / . . . / Henry Kayser, 
President, / Isaac Dittenhoefer, Vice-President, /Joseph Ochs, Treas- 
urer, . . . / New York, October, 1848. 

4to, broadside. Announcement of 5th anniversary dinner. Dropsie 

194. . Fifth / Anniversary Dinner, / of the German / Hebrew 

Benevolent Society, /on Thursday Nov. gth, 1848 at the /Apollo 
Saloons No. 410 B'way. / Dinner on Table at 6 o'clock. 
i6mo, card. Dropsie College. 

195. RICHMOND, HEBREW SCHOOL FUND. Second Annual / Hebrew 
School Fund Ball, / in aid of the / Hebrew School Fund of the City 
of Richmond. / The pleasure of your company is respectfully solicited / 
at the Hebrew School Fund Ball, on Thursday Eve- / ning, February 
loth, 1848, at the Exchange Hotel. / . . . / [Richmond: 1848.] 

I2mo, p. i (invitation). HUG. 

196. [RUSSELL, ESTHER.] Thirtieth Congress First Session. / Report 
No. 1 12. / (To accompany bill H. R. No. 101.) / House of Representa- 
tives. / Esther Russell. /January 19, 1848. /Mr. Donnell, from the 
Committee on Revolutionary Pensions, / made the following / Re- 



port: / The Committee on Revolutionary Pensions, to whom was 
referred / the petition of Esther Russell, praying for an increase of 
pen- / sion, report: / . . . / (Washington: 1848.) 

8vo, pp. 3. The Committee was willing to report a bill to increase 
the pension of the widow of Philip M. Russell. LCP. 

197. [SALOMON, HAYM M.] Thirtieth Congress First Session, / Rep. 
No. 504. / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 425.] / House of Representa- 
tives. / H. M. Salomon. / April 26, 1848. / Mr. TaUmadge, from the 
Committee on Revolutionary Claims, / made the following / Report: / 
The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the / 
memorial of Haym M. Salomon, legal representative of Haym/ 
Salomon, deceased, report: / . , . / [Washington: 1848.] 

8vo, pp. 3. The Committee recommended the payment of Salomon's 
claim by a grant of public lands. LCP. 

!g8. . goth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 219. /In Senate of the United States. /July 28, 1848. /Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Bright made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was 
referred the / memorial of H. M. Salomon, "for indemnification for 
advances / of money made by his father during the revolutionary 
war," have /had the same under consideration, and respectfully 
report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 

8vo, pp. 3, The Committee resolved that the claim was not sus- 
tained for lack of evidence. LCP. 

199. YULEE, DAVID [LEVY]. 3oth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / 
Miscellaneous. /No. 6. / In Senate of the United States. /January 
12. 1848. /Read, and ordered to be printed. / Amendment. / Pro- 
posed by Mr. Yulee to the resolutions submitted by Mr. Dickinson / 
on the I4th December, 1847, viz: .../.../ [Washington:] Tippin & 
Streeper, printers. [1848] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

200. . 3oth Congress, / xst Session. / [Senate.] / Miscellane- 
ous. / No. 31. / In Senate of the United States. /January 18, 1848. / 
Read, referred to the Committee on Finance, and ordered to be 



printed. / Mr. Yulee submitted the following / Resolutions: / . . . / 
[Washington:] Tippin & Streeper, printers. [1848]. 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

201. . 30th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 24. / In Senate of the United States. /January 12, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
memo- / rial of William M. Glendy, respectfully report: / . . . / [Wash- 
ington: Wendell and Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

202. . 3Oth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 146. /In Senate of the United States. / May 5, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred 
the petition / of Francis Martin, report: / . , . / [Washington: Wendell 
and Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

203. . 30th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 147. /In Senate of the United States. /May 5, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
me- / morial of John L. Worden, submit to the Senate the following 
re- / port from the Fourth Auditor in regard to this claim, and ask to 
be / discharged from its further consideration. / . . . / [Washington: 
Wendell and Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, pp. 3. LCP. 

204. . 30th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 148. /In Senate of the United States. / May 5, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
peti- / tion of John H. Williams, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell 
and Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 



205. , soth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 1 60. / In Senate of the United States. / May 29, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
petition / of John Baldwin, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and 
Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, pp. 5. LCP. 

206. . soth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 161. / In Senate of the United States. / May 29, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
petition / of John Ericsson, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and 
Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, pp. 3. LCP. 

207. . 30th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 162. / In Senate of the United States. / May 29, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
petition / of Ann Kelly, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and 
Van Benthuysen, 1848,] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

20 8. . goth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 163. /In Senate of the United States. /May 29, 1848. /Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to which was referred 
S> B. 214, / in addition to an act for the more equitable distribution 
of the / navy pension fund, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and 
Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

209. . 30th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 164. / In Senate of the United States. / May 29, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 



petition / of Abel Grigg, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and 
Van Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

210. . soth Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 170. /In Senate of the United States. /June 14, 1848. /Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / [To accompany bill S. No. 10.] / The Committee on Naval 
Affairs, to whom were referred the bill S. / 10, for the relief of John 
R. Bryan, administrator of Isaac Gar- / retson, deceased, late a purser 
in the United States navy, and the / petition of the administrator of 
said Garretson, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and Van 
Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, p, i. LCP. 

2I j 4 . g th Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 239. / In Senate of the United States. / August 10, 1848. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / [To accompany bill S. No. 348.] / The Committee on Naval 
Affairs, to whom was referred the petition / of Joseph K. Boyd, one 
of the petty officers of the ketch Intrepid, / under the command of 
Captain Stephen Decatur, at the time of /the destruction of the 
frigate Philadelphia, in the harbor of Tri- / poli, on the night of the 
i6th February, 1804, report: / . . . / [Washington: Wendell and Van 
Benthuysen, 1848.] 
8vo, pp. 4. LCP. 


212. BUSGH, ISIDOR. Israels Herold. / Versuch / einer / Zeitschrift fur 
Israeliten / in den / Vereinigten Staaten, / herausgegeben von / Isidor 
Busch, / April, Mai, Juni 1849. / 5609. / New-York. / Gedruckt bei 
J. Miihlhauser, 231 Division-Str. [1849] 

8vo, pp. 96. 

213. COHEN, B. w. Cohen's /New Orleans and Lafayette / Direc- 
tory, / (Including Algiers, Gretna and McDonoghville), / for / 1849, / 
Containing Twenty-one Thousand Names: /Also, /a Street and 


Levee Guide, / and Other Useful Information, / as will be seen by the 
Table of Contents. / Price, Three Dollars / New Orleans: / Printed 
by D. Davies & Son, / 60 Magazine Street. / 1849. 
8vo, pp. 208, (7). AAS. 

214. JUDAH, SAMUEL. The Vincennes University, /vs. /The State of 
Indiana. / Brief / of / Mr. Samuel Judah, / for the University, / in 
the / Supreme Court of Indiana, / in reply to the brief of Mr. Dunn, 
&c., / November Term, 1849. / Indianapolis: / Printed by John D, 
Defrees. / 1849. 

8vo, pp. 13. Indiana State Library. 

215. LEVIN, LEWIS CHARLES. Thirtieth Congress Second Session./ 
Report No. 102. / [To accompany bill S. No. 348.] / House of Repre- 
sentatives. / Mrs. Priscilla Decatur Twiggs. / February 14, 1849. / 
Mr. Levin, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, made the fol- / 
lowing / Report: / . . . / [Washington: 1849.] 

8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

216. MONTAGUE, EDWARD p., ed. Narrative / of the late / Expedition to 
the Dead Sea. / From a Diary / By one of the Party. / Edited by / 
Edward P. Montague, / attached to the United States Expedition Ship 
Supply. / With incidents and adventures from the time of the sailing / 
of the expedition in November, 1847, ^11 the / return of the same in 
December, 1848. / Illustrated with a Map of the Holy Land / hand- 
somely colored. / Philadelphia: / Carey and Hart. / 1849. 

I2mo, pp. xxiv, [i3]-336, folding map. EW2. 

2i6a. MORDEGAI, ALFRED. Second Report / of / Experiments on Gun- 
powder, / Made at / Washington Arsenal, / in / 1845, '47, and '48. / 
By / Brevet Major Alfred Mordecai, / of the Ordnance Department. / 
Washington: / Printed by J. and G. S. Gideon. / 1849. 
8vo, pp. (4), 71, and two plates. EW2. 

217. YULEE, DAVID [LEVY] . 3oth Congress, / sd Session. / [Senate.] / 
Rep. Com., /No. 318. / In Senate of the United States. / February 
22, 1849. / Submitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made 
the following / Report: / [To accompany bill H. R. No. 507.] / The 
Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the bill / (H. R. 



No. 507) for the relief of William Tee, of Portsmouth, / Virginia, 
report: / . . . / [Washington: 1849,] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

218. . soth Congress, / ad Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 319. / In Senate of the United States. / February 22, 1849. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
memo- / rial of the heirs of William Flannigan and William Parsons, / 
respectfully report: / . . . / [Washington: 1849.] 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

219. , 3oth Congress, / 2d Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com., / 

No. 320. / In Senate of the United States. / February 23, 1849.7 
Submitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the follow- 
ing / Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was re- 
ferred the petition / of James Colburn, respectfully report: / . . . / 
[Washington: 1849.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 


220. AGUILAR, GRACE. The Vale of Cedars; / or, / The Martyr. / By 
Grace Aguilar, / Author of "Home Influence," "Woman's Friend- 
ship," etc. / [two-line quotation from Byron] / New- York: / D. Appleton 
& Company, 200 Broadway. / Philadelphia: / Geo. S. Appleton, 164 
Chesnut-St. / 1850. 

i2mo, pp. 256, (8). EW2. 

221. CLEMEN, ROBERT. Geschichte / der / Inquisition in Spanien / 
von / Robert Clemen. / Erster Band. / Columbus, Ohio. / Gedruckt 
bei Scott u. Bascom. / 1850. 

8vo, pp. xvi, 400. Three volumes in one, continuous pagination. 

22 1 a. [HAYS, ISAAC.] Code of Ethics /of the / American / Medical 
Association, / Adopted May, 1847. /Concord: /Printed by Asa 
McFarland. / 1850. 
I2mo, pp. 15. EW2. 



222. LEVIN, LEWIS CHARLES. 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / Rep. No. 
440. /Ho. of Reps. /Joseph Radcliff. / [To accompany bill H, R. 
No. 3 70.] /August i, 1850. /Mr. Levin, from the Committee on 
Naval Affairs, made the following / Report: / . . . / [Washington: 

8vo, pp. 4. LCP. 

223. LIPMAN, HYMEN L. Catalogue / of the stock of fine / Stationery, / 
&c., &c., / to be sold at public sale, / On Tuesday Morning, the 
29th January, 1850, / at 10 o'clock precisely, / at the Store of Mr. 
Hymen L. Lipman, / No. 139 Chesnut Street, /West of Delaware 
Fourth St., Philadelphia / [seven lines] / C. J. Wolpert & Co., Auct'rs. / 
Philadelphia: / United States Book and Job Printing Office, Ledger 
Building. / 1850. 

8vo, pp. 28. AAS. 

224. [MORDECAI, ALFRED.] The / Ordnance Manual / for / The Use of 
the Officers / of the / United States Army. / Second Edition. / 
Washington: / Gideon & Co., Printers. / 1850. 

8vo, pp. xxiv, 475, and 19 plates. Compiled by Captain Alfred 
Mordecai. LCP. 

225. NEW ORLEANS, NEFUTSOTH JEHUDAH. Order of Service / at the / 
Consecration /of the / Synagogue Nefutsoth Jehudah / of / New- 
Orleans, / on / Tuesday, May 1 4th, 1850. [5610] /New Orleans:/ 
Joseph Cohn, Printer, / 31 Poydras Street. / 1850. 

I2mo, pp. 8. MW. 


1 5th, 1850. / Sir, / We have the pleasure to inform you that agreeably 
to the provisions of / our Constitution and By-Laws, our Society will 
celebrate its Twenty-ninth / Anniversary, at the Chinese Rooms, on 
Thursday Evening, November the 7th, / . . . / M. M. Noah, President, 
109 Bank-st., /H. Aronson, Vice President, 79 William-st., / John 
Levy, Treasurer, 134 William-st., / . . . 

4to, broadside. Announcing plans for the establishment of a Jewish 
Hospital. Dropsie College. 



227. [SALOMON, HAYM M.] 3ist Congress-, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / 
Rep. Com. / No. 177. / In Senate of the United States. / August 9, 
1850. / Submitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Walker made the 
following / Report: / [To accompany bill S. No. 310.] /The Com- 
mittee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the me- / 
morial of H. M. Salomon, for indemnification for advances of money / 
made by his father during the revolutionary war ..../.../ [Wash- 
ington: 1850.] 

8vo, pp. 7. LCP. 

228. YULEE, DAVID [LEVY.] 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / 
Rep. Com. / No. 18. / In Senate of the United States. /January 28, 
1850. / Submitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the 
following / Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was 
referred the memorial of / George Harvy, report: / . . . / [Washington: 

8vo, p. i. LCP. 

229. . 3 ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 54. / In Senate of the United States. / February 15, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed, / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / [To accompany bill S. No. 1 13.] / The Committee on Naval 
Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of /John Crosby, admin- 
istrator of Andrew D. Crosby, report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

230. . 3 ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 55. / In Senate of the United States. / February 15, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
memorial of / William A, Christian, report: / . . . / [Washington: 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

231. . 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 57. / In Senate of the United States. / February 18, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr, Yulee made the following / 



Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
memorial of /John Peirce, jr., report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

232. . 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 58. / In Senate of the United States. / February 18, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
memorial of/ Charles Coburn, report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, p. i. LCP. 

233. . 31 st Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 59. / In Senate of the United States. / February 18, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
petition of/ Wm. D. Aiken and Julia his wife, report: / . . . / [Wash- 
ington: 1850.] 
8vo, pp. 3. LCP. 

234. . 3 ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 60. / In Senate of the United States. / February 18, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / [To accompany bill S. No. 1 18.] / The Committee on Naval 
Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of /James McMcIntosh 
[sic], report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, pp. 5. LCP. 

2 35- 3 ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 66. / In Senate of the United States. / February 21, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom were referred 
the documents in / relation to the claim of Purser Francis B. Stockton 
for the allowance / of expenses incurred in going to London by order 
of his commanding / officer, report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, pp. 4. LCP. 

236. . 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 67. / In Senate of the United States. / February 21, 1850. / Sub- 



mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom were referred 
certain docu- / ments, in relation to the claim of Purser Francis B. 
Stockton for the / allowance of expenses of a ball given on board the 
United States frigate / St. Lawrence, report: / . , . / [Washington: 
8vo, pp. 4. LCP. 

237. . 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 68. / In Senate of the United States. / February 21, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
petition of / William H. Burns, report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

238. . 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 69. / In Senate of the United States. / February 21, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
memorial of / Margaret Carmick, widow of Major Carmick, late of the 
United States / marine corps, report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, pp. 2. LCP. 

239. . 3ist Congress, / ist Session. / [Senate.] / Rep. Com. / 

No. 74. / In Senate of the United States. / February 25, 1850. / Sub- 
mitted, and ordered to be printed. / Mr. Yulee made the following / 
Report: / The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the 
petition of /John S. Van Dyke, report: / . . . / [Washington: 1850.] 
8vo, p. I. LCP. 


The Motivation of the German Jewish 
Emigration to America in 
the Post-Mendelssohnian Era 


X*EW are the sources in either German Jewish or 
American Jewish historiography to explain why, during the 
two decades following the Napoleonic wars, young Jews em- 
igrated from Germany in considerable numbers, despite the 
fact that for German Jewry these two decades constituted 
a period of hitherto unprecedented spiritual, cultural, and 
economic development. In its eagerness to throw light on the 
problems of emancipation and assimilation characteristic of 
that period, or to describe the conflict between Orthodoxy and 
Reform, German Jewish historiography has paid scant attention 
to the question of emigration. The emigrant undertone was 
drowned out by the loud clamor of the speeches delivered at 
that time in the assemblies (Standeversammlungeri) of the various 
states or in the rabbinical synods. 

The emigrants themselves, from whom we have an array of 
autobiographies and memoirs, left only meager accounts of 
their youth in Germany. 1 Rarely did they go beyond a brief 

Dr. Selma Stern-Taeubler, Archivist Emeritus of the American Jewish Archives, 

is the most distinguished living historian of German Jewry and a novelist of sensitive 


1 Jacob Rader Marcus, Memoirs of American Jews: 1775-1865, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 



description of their native town, their family life, their religious 
and secular education, and their occupation. Moreover, they 
wrote their memoirs when they were old men, completely 
rooted in the New World. Filled with the desire to render to 
themselves and their children an account of their eventful and 
successful, often adventurous lives, they were too harassed by 
the abundance of changing scenes to find time for critical 
introspection and self-examination, or even to ponder what 
spiritual and moral forces had at one time shaped them. 

Only one man, the son of Herman Gone, the founder of the 
Gone Mill in Greensboro, N. C., in a biography describing his 
father's lifework, has spoken of the "vitalizing heritage" which 
the elder Gone brought to America as an "intangible possession" 
when, at the age of seventeen, he left his native Bavaria (1846). a 
This spiritual heritage consisted of a single letter which a close 
relative handed to the young emigrant. The letter exhorted 
Herman to lead a pure and pious life in the foreign land an 
exhortation reminiscent of the moralistic tracts and ethical 
wills of medieval sages, but written in a language that borrowed 
its pathos from Schiller and its solemnity from Klopstock. 

In view of this dearth of sources, we ourselves must attempt 
to establish the links which connect North Carolina with 
Bavaria, Pennsylvania with Hesse, California with Baden, 
Mississippi with the Palatinate, and Maine with Posen, in 
order to fathom the causes of emigration, and, simultaneously, 
to discover that spiritual heritage which, as William Cone 
maintained, decisively influenced the thoughts and actions of 
his father. 

At the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth 
centuries, German Jewry had undergone an extreme political 
and social revolution and a considerable change in its view of 

William Cone, "Biography of Herman Cone" (copy in the American Jewish 



the world. In the name of humanity, tolerance, and freedom of 
thought and conscience, German Jewry had been promised the 
restoration of its innate, inalienable, and sacred human rights. 
In the name of reason and of the Enlightenment, the Jews had 
been exposed to the spiritual ideas of their time, the most 
brilliant and the richest which Germany ever produced. In 
the name of the pedagogic gospel of Rousseau and Pestalozzi, 
the portals of the secular schools and universities had been 
opened to them. In the name of natural law, which had burst 
the bounds of feudal society and dissolved the privileges of the 
ruling classes, the cause of their civil improvement and the 
termination of their separate existence had been espoused. 3 

The French Revolution, which brought the ideas of the 
eighteenth-century Enlightenment to their utmost culmination, 
proclaimed as its fundamental principle the equality of all 
men before the law. As a logical consequence, the Paris National 
Assembly emancipated the Jews of France in September, 1791. 
When the revolutionary armies included the areas on the left 
bank of the Rhine as new departements in the new republic, and 
when Napoleon founded the Confederation of the Rhine, the 
Jews of these states, too, became citizens of the French Empire. 
In the newly created Kingdom of Westphalia, their equality 
was proclaimed; Frankfurt granted them civil rights in 1810; 
the Hanseatic cities in 181 1 . 4 The Jews of the Grand Duchy of 
Baden, also a member of the Confederation of the Rhine, were 
similarly declared free hereditary citizens of the state (erbfreie 

3 Wilhelm Dilthcy, "Das 18. Jahrhundert und die geschichtliche Welt," Gesammelte 
Schriften, III (Leipzig, 1927); Friedrich Meinecke, Die Entstehung des Historismus 

(Munich and Berlin, 1936); Karl Victor, Deutsches Dickten und Denken von der 
Aufkldrung bis %um Realismus (Berlin, 1936). 

*Ludwig Horwitz, Die Israeliten unter dem Konigreich WestfaUn (Berlin, 1900); 
Felix Lazarus, Das koniglich-westfalische Konsistoriwn der Israeliten (Pressburg, 1914); 
Adolf Kober, Cologne (Philadelphia, 1940); I. Kracauer, Geschickte der Juden in 
Frankfurt a. Af. (Frankfurt, 1927), II. 



Staatsburger); an edict of January 13, 1809, created the Supreme 
Council of the Israelites (Oberrat der Israeliteri), whose task it 
became to reform the education of youth, to guide its vocational 
adjustment, and by assimilating it with the surrounding 
world culturally and spiritually to prepare it for complete 
civil equality. s 

For the economically strongest and intellectually most en- 
lightened Jews of all, those of Prussia, who had for years pas- 
sionately fought for their civil improvement, the edict of 1812 
removed the concept of protected Jewry (Schutqudenturri). 
Foreigners and tolerated persons (GeduLdete) became natives 
(Eirddnder) and citizens (Staatsburger). The burden of special 
taxes and Jews' taxes (Judenabgaberi) was lifted, and the principle 
was proclaimed that Jews should enjoy the same rights and 
liberties as Christians, 6 

The overthrow of Napoleon, the restoration of the old 
"legitimate" regimes, the victory of the Holy Alliance, and 
the tendencies of the Restoration resulted almost everywhere 
in the cancellation of the civil rights which the Jews had been 
granted. In Frankfurt, in Mainz, in the states of the Rhenish 
Confederation, the last hope for the promised liberty and 
equality disappeared with the re-establishment of the old order. 
The ambiguous formula of the Congress of Vienna concerning 
the future constitutional basis of the Jews in Germany was an 
equally clear indication of the changed attitude of those in 
power. This attitude was also evident in the twenty different 
Judenverfassungen of the Prussian provinces Verfassungen, con- 
stitutions, which contained a multiplicity of restrictive clauses. 

sBerthold Rosenthal, Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden (Buhl, 1927); A. Lewin, 
Geschichte der badischen Juden seit der Regierung Karl Friedrichs (Karlsruhe, 1909); 
Selma Stern-Taeubler, "Die Emanzipation der Juden in Baden," Gedenkbuch zujn 
125. Besteken des Oberrats der Israeliten Badens (Frankfurt, 1934), 

6 Ismar Freund, Die Emancipation der Juden in Preussen (Berlin, 1912). 


This was particularly true of the constitution of the province 
of Posen, whose large Jewish population was divided into two 
classes, "naturalized inhabitants and those who are not yet fit 
to receive the rights of the projected naturalized class." 

This change in the governmental policies towards the Jews 
was not only a reaction against Jewish political and economic 
emancipation, a reaction associated with the governmental 
revolt against the Napoleonic innovations. A reaction no less 
spiritual than political, it documented the profound change of 
thought marking this period's transition from the cosmopolitan- 
humanist attitude towards life which the eighteenth century 
had evinced to the romantic-national world philosophy of the 
nineteenth century. In contrast to the clear-minded Deism of 
the Enlightenment and the serene Hellenistic life-ideal of the 
classics, a religious hypertension arose. This hypertension, born 
of the romantic spirit and nourished by the political upheavals 
attendant on the wars of liberation, resulted in a mutual 
impregnation and curious intermixture of primitive Christian 
and Germanic notions, of Puritan and Teutonic ideas, of 
nationalistic and pietistic-mystical beliefs. It was then that the 
concept of the " Christian-Germanic" or "German-Christian" 
state arose. 7 

The men of the French Revolution had envisaged the state 
as a purely rational instrument. But for the romanticists the 
state was created not by men but by God himself. It was a 
Christian monarchy in which the legal, constitutional, and 
economic structure was grounded on the principles of Chris- 

?H. von Sybel, "Die christlich-gcnnanischc Staatslehre," Kleine Sckriften, I 
(Stuttgart, 1880-1891); E. Muesebeck, "Die ursprunglichen Grundlagen des 
Liberalisraus und Konservatismus in Deutschland," Korrespondenzblatt des Gesamt- 
vereins der deutschen Altertumsvercine, Jahrgang 63 (1915); R- Stammlcr, Lekrbuck 
der Rechtsphilosophie (3rd ed.; Berlin, 1928); J. Baxa, Einfiihrung in die romantische 
Staatswissenschqft (Jena, 1923). 



tianity, and in which religion, people, and government were to 
form a single unity. 

The generation of the Enlightenment had been able to believe 
in a synthesis of Germanism and Judaism because its broad 
humanitarian ideal of culture coincided with the demand for 
social and civil equality for the Jews. From their universalistic 
standpoint, the question of emancipation had been not so much 
a question of the Jews as a question of humanity. On the other 
hand, for the generation of romanticism, a generation which 
sought the emergence of the national spirit in legend and in 
history and explored the manifestation of the singular and 
peculiar, the essence of Judaism constituted an element scarcely 
to be blended with the essence of Germanism. If one conceived 
of the state as a community of those who lived, had lived, and 
were still to live, with every hope for moral and religious; 
development related to Christianity, there could be no place 
for the Jews in this community. 

A people could become an entity only through uniformity of 
expression, thought, language, and faith, and through loyalty 
to the governmental system, declared the famous Professor 
Friedrich Ruehs of the University of Berlin, 8 at that time. A 
stranger could not be denied admission into this ethnic unity, 
but he should be granted it only if he surrendered himself to it 
completely and became fused with it. But that condition did 
not apply to German Jewry. By virtue of its descent, disposition, 
faith, and language, it was more closely unified to the Jews 
the world over than to the Germans, As long as the Jews per- 
severed in their national and political particularism and refused 
to yield the separate folk existence (Volkstumlichkeif) based on 
their religion and their aristocratic constitutions, they had to 
remain tolerated Schutz- und Schirmgenossen, separated by strict 

8 fiber die Ansprtiche der Juden an das deutsche Burgerrecht (2nd printing; Berlin, 1816). 


commercial regulations from the other subjects. Only if they 
dejudaized themselves, that is to say, converted to Christianity, 
could they be accepted as citizens of equal standing in the 

These "strict commercial regulations 5 ' took the form of 
earnest efforts by the governments of the individual states to 
direct the large number of poorer Jews into new vocational and 
economic areas; to deflect them from commerce, particularly 
from dealing in second-hand goods and from pawnbroking; and 
to channel them into agriculture and handicrafts. Even if the 
intentions expressed in this program were justifiable and 
educative, the national-economic doctrine of romanticism played 
an important part. Commerce, as it was proclaimed here, was 
essentially international, geared to economic gain, that is to 
say, to profit and consumption. Industry, in turn, dependent 
as it was on the ability of the individual entrepreneur, likewise 
contradicted the romantic idea of the organic unity. 

This vocational readjustment was pressed so thoroughly by 
individual governments that, for instance, the Baden ministry 
of the interior demanded 9 that Jewish journeymen be absolved, 
for the period of their travelling apprenticeship, from observing 
their religious laws, especially from observance of the Sabbath, 
until such time as a larger number of Jewish artisans would be 
accepted as masterworkmen in the land. 

How did German Jewry react to the idea of the Christian 
state? How did it reply to the changed position of the ruling 
powers and of society and to the release of popular outburst 
which found its most salient expression- in the anti-Jewish Hep! 
Hep! movement of the year 1819? 

Several possible solutions presented themselves, and all of 

9 Schreiben des badischcn Innernninisteriums an den Oberrat der Israeliten. 12. 
September, 1812. Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, Ministerium des Inneren, 
Judensachen, Zug 1900, Nr. 40, III. 



them were attempted by the German Jews in those years. One 
possibility was to recognize the dominant ideas, to affirm that 
Christianity was the basis of German culture, and in the course 
of assimilating to the German environment, to adopt Chris- 
tianity. This was the solution attempted by the children of 
Moses Mendelssohn, by Heinrich Heine, by Ludwig Borne, 
Eduard Gans, Friedrich Julius Stahl, and Karl Marx, and 
by innumerable others. 

A second possibility lay in compromise. This compromise 
took the form of surrendering one's own nationality in accord- 
ance with the state's requirement, of negating Jewish people- 
hood; it took the form of simplifying and adjusting all ritual 
and ceremonial to the liturgical patterns of the environment, 
of reducing religion which had formerly dominated and 
permeated the lives of one's forebears to a personal creed, 
an ethical Weltanschauung. Such was the solution attempted at 
that time by the Jewish Reformers. 

A third alternative was that of subjecting to scientific in- 
vestigation the Jew's relationship to religion and society, state 
and humanity, the past and the future, and simultaneously of 
enlightening a hostile environment with respect to the religious 
basis of Judaism this Judaism which had been, at one time, 
as revelatory of the Weltgeist as ever Hellenism and Christianity 
were. Thus the world would be given the opportunity of forming 
a better judgment as to the worthiness or unworthiness of the 
Jews and their eligibility for emancipation and equal rights. 
This was the approach adopted at that time by the Berlin 
cultural organization known as the Verein fur Kultur und Wis- 
senschajt des Judentums, founded in 1819. 

However divided the German Jews were during these years, 
one watchword still remained to unite all trends and opin- 
ions, the Orthodox and the Reformers, the conservatives and 
the liberals, the irresolute and the faithful, the indifferent 



and the baptized: the watchword of political and civil eman- 

Strengthened in its self-respect and self-awareness by better 
education and greater economic security, the whole of German 
Jewry regarded its political degradation as an intolerable insult. 
Just as the public opinion of those years saw the ultimate of 
human happiness in the fulfillment of constitutional demands, 
so, too, the Jews of that generation looked to political emancipa- 
tion for redemption from their sad fate. Proceeding on the 
assumption that the innate rights of human beings were not to 
be diminished by any one, they defended their cause in political, 
philosophical, and moral discussions before the entire German 
nation. In as many petitions they accused the Stande- 
versammlungen of the individual states Baden, Bavaria, Han- 
over, the Electorate of Hesse, Prussia, and Saxony of violating 
the spirit of the constitutions themselves and of the principle 
of the equality of all persons before the law by barring Jews 
from state offices and by denying them the right to be chosen as 
representatives to the diets. 

The most vehement struggle for equal rights was fought at 
that time by the Bavarian Jews, whose legal position was the 
most oppressive and insecure. I0 Not even the Napoleonic period 
had essentially improved the position of the Jews in Bavaria. 
They had been granted only the right to attend public schools 
and the remission of the body-tax (Leibzolt), while the 1813 
edict regulating their legal relationship to the Bavarian state 
had prescribed, in its infamous twelfth paragraph, that "the 
number of Jewish families in localities where there are some at 
present should not, as a rule, be increased, but rather, if it be too 
large, diminished' 9 (die %ahl der Judenfamilien an den Orten, wo sie 
dermalen bestehen, in der Regel nicht vermehrt, vielmehr, wenn sie zu gross 

1 A. Eckstein, Der Kampfder Juden urn ikrf Eman&pation in Bayem (Furth i. B., 1905), 



set, vermindert werden musse). If Jews wished to settle in townships 
hitherto judenfrei, they were obliged to secure the permission 
of the Landesherr, the manoral lord. Such permission was, in 
general, to be granted only to manufacturers, artisans, and 
agricultural workers. 

What this regulation meant in practice was that only an 
eldest son would be authorized to settle by virtue of his father's 
letter of protection (Schutzbrief). Otherwise, in order to gain 
the right of settlement, one had to await the death of a childless 
owner of a registration certificate (Matrikelbesitzer) and, in 
addition, had frequently to pay the huge sum of 1,000 gulden 
for that right. In a petition of May, 1831, to the diet (Stande- 
kammer), the Jews of Bavaria demanded that this degrading 
regulation be repealed by the government. 

It is an inalienable, inviolable human right to have a fatherland, 
to use one's mental and physical powers freely, to own property, to 
settle and marry, in wedlock to beget and educate children, and to 
leave to them a fatherland, their own hearth, and secure possession 
and enjoyment of their human rights. 

But where they are commanded to diminish the number of their 
families, where their increase is prohibited, and where their settlement 
is confined to a certain number and to a few places, but otherwise 
forbidden, there our children have no fatherland, no property, no 
livelihood; there they are condemned to remain unmarried, to re- 
nounce their paternal and human rights, and to perish physically 
and morally. 

Still more movingly did the communities of Ansbach and 
Fiirth appeal to the king in a memorial in 1837. They pointed 
out that their children had indeed gained admission to all 
institutions of higher learning, but found no opportunity to 
put their theoretical training into practice. Should their well- 
founded grievances not be rectified, they would be forced 

to surrender one of the most cherished possessions of every feeling 
man their hereditary homeland. . . . Already we are aware of a 



phenomenon which has not hitherto been known. Already we see 
the desire to emigrate taking root also among the Israelites of Bavaria; 
for the past few years, at the coming of each spring, a not unsubstantial 
number of Israelite coreligionists have been leaving Bavaria, hitherto 
their fatherland, to move to distant parts of the world. 

These are not adventurers; these are by no means the scum of civil 
society. These are strong young men, professionals and solid business- 
men, who for years applied for settlement, but thereby wasted money 
and time, simply because there was no vacancy in the registration 
list, or because their religion prevented them. . . . Every year the 
number of Israelite emigrants increases, and these are no longer 
confined to unmarried individuals, but comprise established families, 

Bavarian Jewry itself specified in these petitions the main 
reasons which compelled Jewish youth to emigrate: the prohibi- 
tion against second, third, or even fourth children settling in 
the land, and the difficulties encountered in the practice of the 
academic professions. It is, therefore, no coincidence that most 
of the German memoir-writers mention Bavaria as their native 
land. Sigmund and Leopold Wassermann, who landed in Amer- 
ica at the beginning of the eighteen forties, * x also hailed from 
Bavaria, as did Herman Cone and Leo Merzbacher. x 2 

It would be wrong, nevertheless, to simplify the problems 
and to reduce the motives to a common denominator. Two 
memorialists, William Frank and Louis Stix, 13 report, for 
instance, that they had learned a trade: Frank had learned 
weaving, and Stix had learned glazing. Frank worked for 
three years as an apprentice in Schweinfurt; then, under 
Christian masterworkmen, he followed his trade in almost all 
the larger cities of Bavaria, as well as in Frankfurt, Mainz, 
Worms, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Landau, Speyer, 

* * Guido Kisch, "Two American Jewish Pioneers in New Haven," Historia Judaica, 
IV (1942). 

Eric E. Hirshler, Jews from Germany in the United States (New York, 1955). 

* * Jacob Rader Marcus, Memoirs, L 



and many smaller places. He appears to have found work easily 
and was satisfied with his earnings. Frank must, therefore, 
have had reasons other than poverty, the prohibition of settle- 
ment, and state and municipal restrictions, for deciding, never- 
theless, to emigrate to "blessed America." 

As we saw, the learning of a trade was forced upon the Jews 
by the governments. They yielded to this decree hesitantly 
and unwillingly. Frank reports that the police arrested him at 
the age of fourteen and that, living on bread and water, he had 
to spend three days in prison because he had not begun to 
learn a trade. His first period of apprenticeship to a cobbler 
was torture, and he ran away after two weeks because he could 
not stand the smell of the "stinking shoes" he had to repair. 

The Baden minister of the interior, von Berckheim, wrote to 
the Frankfurt ambassador, von Blittersdorf, in 1828, 14 that the 
Jews found their vocational readjustment difficult and that 
their "absorption into the civic order" had not met with the 
desired success. They did not take agriculture and the trades 
very seriously because they chose only those vocations which 
required little effort vocations such as tailoring, shoemaking, 
and bookbinding or which had some connection with com- 
merce butchering, soap manufacturing, and hatmaking. Most 
of them soon resigned their trades in favor of commerce. There 
was this added factor: that the Jews were inevitably drawn to 
commerce by virtue of that superiority which they had acquired 
in all branches of trade through their early development of an 
almost instinctive taste for speculation and through the connec- 
tions they had with their people in all parts of the world. It was 
this inclination to commerce which impelled them in that 

We may assume, therefore, that the enterprising Frank, who 

14 Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, Judenrechte, Pars II, I. 


became an important glass manufacturer in America, and the 
generous and honorable Stix, who died a millionaire, both 
sought a way to freedom in order to burst the bonds of narrow- 
minded, compulsory guild order. 

In the possession of the American Jewish Archives is the 
"Mailert Family Correspondence, " a comprehensive collection 
permitting a more profound insight into the soul of an emigrant 
than do the short sketches of the memoir-writers. The letters 
were written by Charles Lucius Mailert during the years 1833- 
1851 to his brother August, who emigrated to the United States 
at the beginning of the 1830*3. Charles Lucius Mailert was a 
Jewish teacher and director of a private school in Kassel. He 
himself was about to emigrate to America. Only consideration 
of his aged mother, whom he did not wish to leave behind alone, 
and later a serious illness which brought about his early death, 
prevented the execution of his plan. 

These are the letters of a well-educated, very sensitive, and 
receptive young man who was familiar with the condition of 
the Jews as well as with the general political situation in Ger- 
many. This enlightened, forthright educator was in a position 
to pen his moods, intentions, and feelings in well-chosen lan- 
guage. Although he was a Jewish teacher and edited a "Hebrew 
Bible," the Jewish problem did not play a decisive role in his 
case. This was not because the condition of the Jews was consid- 
erably better in the Electorate of Hesse (where, in the main, 
the reforms of the Westphalian period were kept intact) than 
in Bavaria and many other states. It was because Charles 
Lucius Mailerfs interest was directed not so much to the 
liberation of his fellow Jews as to the political and civil eman- 
cipation of German society, to whose emancipation he believed 
the emancipation of the Jews was intimately related. 

What stirred him deeply was his enormous urge for freedom, 
an irresistible aversion to conditions in 



antiquated, tyrannized Europe, where at every step an eavesdropper 
sneaks up or a gaudy mercenary reminds one of brutalities, where 
new laws are made daily in order to impose new fines, where the 
word of a thinking man brings about penal servitude; in short, where 
they let people live only for the fun of grinding them. Europe sprouted 
a shoot of liberty some years ago, but it withered and deprived the 
whole tree of whatever strength there still remained. IS 

When his brother warned him not to make a hasty decision 
and told him about the privations and the hard life of the 
immigrant, Charles replied: 

Whatever you and many others may say about America, you do not 
know European slavery, German oppression, and Hessian taxes. There 
is only one land of liberty which is ruled according to natural, reason- 
able laws, and that is the Union. Freedom is the greatest possession; 
in the Old World freedom lies in chains, and her defenders have to 
mount the scaffold. You say in America it is "make money," but here 
it is "give money as taxes." Which is better? 16 

"I am happy and confident, when I think about America,'* 
he declares in another letter. x 7 

I still live and strive in and for America without imagining it to 
be a fool's paradise. Freedom! Freedom of life and of the soul! The 
advantages which you ascribe to Europe are very dubious. Everything 
has come about through the blood and sweat of the poor subjects. 18 

In a later letter he confesses to his brother: 

America still keeps me going somewhat. If this thought, too, proves 
deceptive; if one may not or cannot be a human being there, either, 
then my life would be unbearable perhaps then I might be able to 
throw it away. x 9 

*s Letter dated March 14, 1835. 
16 Letter dated March 19, 1835. 
1 ' Letter dated October 22, 1835. 
18 Letter dated February 1 8, 1836. 
J Letter dated April 26, 1837. 


Similar, purely idealistic reasons motivated Sigmund and 
Leopold Wassermann, the sons of well-to-do and educated 
parents, when they decided to take up a life of privation rather 
than to live in "hatred and shame." Both of them were high- 
minded, sensitive, and profound souls, whose dispositions had 
been molded by classical and romantic literature. Their dis- 
appointed and rejected love of their despite everything 
"oh,, so dear fatherland" prompted them to write sad elegies in 
which they conjured up the millennial grief and sang of the 
"sweet liberty" which they hoped to find on "America's happy 

How these hopes were fulfilled, how the emigrants from 
Germany found their way in the New World, how they guarded 
the heritage which they brought with them, and what strength 
they derived from it these things have been told to us by 
the historian to whom this Festschrift is dedicated. 


The Economic Life of the American Jew 
in the Middle Nineteenth Century 


WHEN the Jew began to leave Germanic lands in 
the middle of the nineteenth century he was, in the main, 
well-fitted for the type of economic activity generally prevailing 
in the United States. The discovery of gold in California in 
1848, the Westward Movement, the Homestead Act of 1862, 
followed by the joining of the West Coast with the East by 
railroad, the expansion of industry, the growth of the cities, 
the rich rewards for the venturesome all provided an excellent 
opportunity for daring, courage, personal ingenuity, and in- 
dividual exploitation. 

German economic life had not fully evolved to the point of 
mass industrialism; it was still basically the age of the individual 
and the middle man, enabling many German Jews to be active 
in various areas. * The American scene beckoned to those who 
were eager to work, to take a chance, to venture into new fields 
and to explore the potentialities of the economic frontier. One 
historian has called this the age of revolution in manufacturing, 

Rabbi Alia" Tarshish is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Elohim, Charleston,. 
S. C. 

1 For instance, the Jews of Silesia -were often employed by large landowners as 
financial and commercial agents and as lessees of their breweries and farms: 
Selma Stern-Taeubler, "Problems of American and German Jewish Historiog- 
raphy," in Eric E. Hirshler, ed., Jews from Germany in the United States (New York: 
Farrar, Straus and Gudahy, 1955), p. 12. 



transportation, mining, and communication. 3 And, as in any 
revolution, new figures found their opportunity. 

The majority of the Jews who came to this country at this 
time were not rich, and few had sufficient capital to start a 
business. 3 Thus many of them became peddlers. In 1 850 there 
were some 10,000 peddlers in the United States, and in 1860 
more than 16,000, most of whom were Jewish. 4 According to a 
humorous Jew of Syracuse, New York, who described the various 
categories, the bottom of the economic ladder was occupied by 
the basket peddler. 

One day, when Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise was traveling on 
the boat from New York to Albany, he saw such a basket 
peddler walking around the boat, wringing his hands in agony. 
Wise asked if he had lost anything. The peddler responded in 
German: "Have I lost anything? . . . Bewonos [God help me!], 
I have lost everything! I have. lost my English language." The 
rabbi could not understand. "You do not understand? Neither 
do I, and therein lies my misfortune. I arrived at New York, 
and after I had paid my debts I had twenty dollars and three 
shillings left. So they said to me, 'Cohen, you must buy a basket 
for six shillings, and twenty dollars' worth of kuddel muddel, 
what we call in German meshowes (notions), and then you must 
go peddling in the country.' 

"I cry out, c The country speaks English, and I do not. How 

9 Arthur M. Schlesingcr, Political and Social History of the United States, 1829-192$ 
(New York: Macmillan, 1928), p. 280. 

* Allgemeine %dtung des Judentwns, XIII (1849), 649; Mark Stone, Historical Sketch 
and By-Laws of Ohabei Shalom, Boston (Boston: Daniels Printing Co., 1907); Seventy- 
Fifth Anniversary Booklet of Congregation B*nai B'rith, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 2840-1924; 
Herman Eliassoff, "German American Jews," reprint from Publications of the 
German American Historical Society of Illinois (1915), pp. 33, 43; Simon Glazer, Jews 
of Iowa (Des Moines, Iowa, 1904), p. 196. 

4 Rudolph Glanz, "Notes on Early Jewish Peddling in America," Jewish Social 
Studies, VII (1945), 120. 



in the world can I get along?' 'That makes no difference/ 
they told me; c we will write everything down for you.' Well, 
they gave me the basket filled with kuddel muddel, and wrote 
down for me the English language on a piece of paper, and 
sent me to Hudson. Now I have lost the English language, and 
am perfectly helpless." Wise comforted the distracted peddler, 
had him write in German the sentences which he needed, and 
translated them into English. Even then the immigrant had his 
difficulties and persisted in saying, "You fant to puy somdink? 
Can I shtay mit you all nacht?" s 

The next higher rank among the peddlers was the trunk 
carrier who knew a little English. On the next rung above was 
the pack carrier who shouldered 150 pounds of merchandise 
and looked forward to the time when he would become a 
businessman. These were the plebeians. But there was also an 
aristocracy among the peddlers: either a wagon baron who 
peddled with a horse and wagon; or a jewelry count who carried 
stocks of watches and jewelry in a small trunk and was consid- 
ered a rich man by his friends. On the top rung was the store 
prince who had succeeded in establishing a shop, usually a 
clothing store. 6 

This humorous description was acted out in many a life 
and sometimes not so humorously. The life stories of individual 
immigrants are very often replete with vicissitudes. 7 Some were 
tragic indeed, as is disclosed by a short account in the New 
York Sun of May 7, 1849: "The body of a German named 
Marcus Cohen was found in a remote part of Greenwood 
Cemetery on Friday last. It seems that on Wednesday last, in a 

* Isaac Mayer Wise, Reminiscences (Cincinnati; Leo Wise and Co., 1901), p. 31. 
Ibid., p. 37. 

1 1bid., p. 47; Jacob R. Marcus, Memoirs of American Jews, 1775-186? (Philadelphia: 
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955), 3 vols. 



fit of desperation on account of pecuniary embarrassments, he, 
with a hair trigger pistol, terminated his existence. He was a 
carpenter by trade. . . ." 8 

Living conditions, especially in the big cities, were often 
most difficult. Samuel Gompers, who came to New York in 
1 863 at the age of thirteen, later described the tenement in which 
his family lived. "Our apartment in Sheriff Street, 55 Gompers 
recalled, "was a typical three room home. The largest, the 
front room, was a combined kitchen, dining room, and sitting 
room, with two front windows. There were two small bed rooms 
back, which had windows opening into the hall. We got water 
from a common hydrant in the yard and carried it upstairs. 
The toilet was in the yard also. 5 ' 9 And this was better than 

Anti-Jewish prejudice often added to the hardships. One 
non-Jewish peddler commented that one day he sold some 
goods in a tavern in a small town in Delaware and was ap- 
prehended by a local official who thought he was a Jew. When, 
however, he showed his passport and proved that he was not a 
Jew, the official said: "As I see that you 5 re an honest Protestant, 
I'll let you go, though it's costing me $25. Pm no friend of the 
Jews and if you were one . . . you would have been fined $50 
or gone to jail, and I would have got half of the cash for my 
pains. . . ." r 

It is true that Jews were not the only targets of prejudice. 
They were often victims of the general attitude of anti-foreign 
and anti-German prejudice, as revealed in the following 

8 Morris U. Schappes, A Documentary History of the Jews of the United States, i6$4- 
i%7$ (New York: Citadel Press, 1950), p. 287. 

Robert Ernst, Immigrant Life in New Tork City, 1822-1863 (New York: King's 
Crown Press, Columbia University, 1949), p. 51, 

1 Glanz, p. 127. 


O, Germany, Germany, land of fiddlers, 

Of mad musicians, cabbages and "sour-krout" ; 

Filled with base barons and with Jewish peddlers. . . . x I 

The religious activities of these Jews also were commentaries 
upon their early struggles. Funds were meager, and most of 
the existing congregations held services in rented rooms. z 2 The 
iirst constitution of Congregation Adath Israel of Louisville, 
-organized in 1842, stipulated that whenever the treasurer had 
the sum of $50, the whole congregation had to be convened to 
decide what to do with the money. 13 Rodeph Shalom Con- 
gregation of Philadelphia, in 1849, fifty-four years after its 
founding, still depended upon the rental of the cellar of the 
synagogue as a storage place for beer, although this practice 
Avas soon to be discontinued. I4 The now wealthy Congregation 
Emanu-El of New York could raise only $28.25 from its members 
;at its first meeting in 1845. IS 

Businesses were often begun very humbly. One traveler in 
California stated that "the Jewish shops were generally rattle- 
trap erections about the size of a bathing machine, so small 
that one half of the stock had to be displayed suspended from 
projecting sticks outside. . . ." 1<s 

Dr. Jacob R. Marcus calls Henry Seessel the typical German 
Jewish immigrant. Having migrated to New Orleans about 

11 Ibid., pp. 130 ff. 

13 Stella Obst, The Story of Adath Israel, Boston, Mass. (Boston, 1917); "Outline of 
the History of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel," Tear Book of Reform Con" 
gregation Keneseth Israel, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia, 1889-1892), I-III. 

x * Charles Goldsmith, Congregation Adath Israel, Louisville, Kentucky (Louisville, 1906). 

** Minute Book of Congregation Rodeph Shalom of Philadelphia, 1847-1851, 
December 9, 1849. 

J s Myer Stern, History of Temple Emanu-El of New Tork (New York, 1895), excerpts 
from the first meeting, April 16, 1845, and following; Trustees Minutes of Temple 
Emanu-El, New York, book 1862-1876, October 7, 1866 May I, 1869. 

16 Glanz, p. 123. 



1843, Seessel was for years an itinerant merchant, peddling 
clothes and jewelry. In turn he became a trunkmaker, store- 
keeper, stock raiser, saloonkeeper, and butcher. He had many 
family problems. Yet eventually he did make a modest success. * r 

Others did better. Daniel Frohman, noted theatrical producer, 
recalled that his father, Henry Frohman, came to New York 
in 1845 from Darmstadt, Germany, and for a while was a pack 
peddler in the upper Hudson Valley. Later he prospered and 
bought a wagon with which he could purchase clothing whole- 
sale, a practice which eventually led to much greater success. * 8 

Louis Stix, who came to Cincinnati in 1841, also began as a 
pack peddler, and, likewise, soon owned a horse and wagon. 
A few years later he was able to open a little store with some 
partners, some of whom continued to peddle. A few years before 
the Civil War, the firm of Louis Stix and Co. was founded and 
became one of the best-known dry goods firms in the Middle 
West. 19 Others had similar fortunate experiences; 20 most of 
the famed Seligman brothers, for example, began as peddlers. 2I 
William Frank, originally a weaver in the old country, began 
his career as a peddler in Eastern Pennsylvania, selling dry 
goods, and eventually becoming a prosperous glass manufac- 
turer. In 1846 he moved to Pittsburgh, and was one of the 
men who founded the Jewish community of that city. a a 

So it was for many. The merchandise of the peddler was sold 
for a profit, small reserves were accumulated, greater economic 

1 1 Marcus, I, 353-67. 
* 8 Glanz, p. 125. 
x * Marcus, 1,311-42. 
90 Glanz, pp. 124, 127. 

al Marcus, I, 343; In Memoriam Jesse Seligman (New York: Privately printed, 1894). 
" Marcus, I, 302-8. 


opportunities were sought out, a store was rented, real estate 
was purchased, and new ventures were explored. Partnerships 
were formed, small businesses expanded, and often the profits 
were invested in the development of railroads, coal, quarries, 
lumbering, oil, or factories. 2 3 The little Baltimore meat market 
of John M. Dyer became one of the large packing houses of the 
country. 24 The dry goods store of Simon Fleisher led first to 
the manufacture of braids, then of woolen yarns, and finally 
grew into the national firm of Fleisher Yarns. a s A little retail 
store begun by Julius Rosenwald in Springfield, Illinois, provided 
the means for purchasing into and expanding the mail order 
house of Sears, Roebuck and Co. 2 6 

After a successful peddling career, Lazarus Straus established 
himself in business in Talbotton, Georgia. Then he moved to 
New York, and with his sons, Isidor and Nathan, opened a 
crockery and glassware store in 1866. A few years later they 
began to operate the china and silverware departments in the 
basement of R. H. Macy and Go. Eventually Isidor and Nathan 
became partners in the store itself and ultimately its owners. a 7 
Isidor, the oldest son and the guiding force in founding the 
great Straus family fortunes, was a most resourceful person. 
His memoirs record that on the day of his entrance into the 
Georgia Military Academy at Marietta, Georgia, he was so 
repelled by the hazing in that institution that he refused to 

3 3 Ely E. Pilchik, "Economic Life of American Jewry, 1860-1875" (Prize Essay, 
Hebrew Union College Library), pp. 4-7. 

*4Adolph Guttmacher, History of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation^ 1830-190$ 
(Baltimore, 1905). 

*s Henry Samuel Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Levytype Co., 
1894), p. 263. 

36 H. Elliot Snyder, History of Congregation Brith Shalom of Springfield, Illinois (7Oth 

a * Pilchik, p. 13. 



become a student, and the next morning he determined, instead, 
to make a career for himself in business. He states: 

... I hired a buggy with a driver and visited a mill which was situated 
a few miles away and made a contract for the delivery to me of some 
of the mill's product, on which I made a very good turn, and thus 
became embarked on a mercantile career, which has been my occupa- 
tion ever since. To the best of my recollection, I went to Atlanta the 
following day, sold for future delivery what I had contracted for at 
the factory the previous day, and embarked in other transactions. 
So that, when I returned to Talbotton, after an absence of probably 
two weeks, and related my experiences, the surprising turn of events 
with their successful results in a measure appeased the disappoint- 
ment which an utter failure of the purpose of my trip would have 

Thus, though Isidor had set out from home to become a 
scholar, he returned as a successful, embryonic businessman. 
He seemed to have the knack for making the best of difficult 
situations. In the summer of 1863, at the age of twenty, he set 
out for Europe to help a blockade-running firm purchase goods 
for the South through the sale of Southern cotton. He reached 
his destination safely after a dangerous sea voyage. Although 
this particular mission proved unsuccessful, this young, enter- 
prising businessman returned to the United States two years 
later, with $10,000 in gold which he had earned in other 
ventures. 3 8 

Of course, all the German Jews were not so ingenious, daring, 
and resourceful as Isidor Straus, and all of them did not become 
wealthy; but many did prosper. The business directories in most 
cities indicate the increase in Jewish business concerns. From 
1865 to 1875, th e number of Jewish business firms in Baltimore 
more than doubled; in Cincinnati, from 1860 to 1880, the 
number more than tripled; and in Cleveland, from 1863 to 1880, 
it quadrupled. Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, 

a * Marcus, II, 301-16. 


St. Louis, and other cities showed increases in similar propor- 
tions. 29 This increase in the number of Jewish firms does not 
necessarily imply that each particular business grew in size 
and wealth, but certainly new business firms would not have 
been established if the others had not succeeded. 

An additional confirmation of this increasing prosperity was 
the fact that many new synagogue buildings were erected, some 
of them costing as much as $300,000. 3 In 1850 the United 
States Census valued Jewish church property at one half million 
dollars. In 1860 this had doubled, and by 1873 such property 
was valued at over five million dollars. 3 x Educational institu- 
tions and philanthropic societies also were the beneficiaries of 
this increase in wealth. It was reported, in 1881, that a single 
charity Purim Ball in New York netted $22,000. 3a The homes, 
clothing, entertainment, and travels of the Jews of this period 
all evidenced the growing prosperity. 

This is the general story. Was it different from the norm of 
American economic life of the time? Were the Jews active in all 
phases or only in certain aspects of business life? Did they engage 
in agriculture? Were they prominent in the laboring and 

a Pilchik, pp. 29, 48, 51; Pilchik, "Economic Life of American Jewry, 1875- 
1880" (Prize Essay, H. U. C. Library), pp. 6-7, 9-10, 17-18, 21. 

s Trustees Minutes of Temple Emanu-El, New York, book 1862-1876, October 7, 
1866 May I, 1869; Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums, XXXVI (1872), 355; Jewish 
Chronicle (London), XXX (1873), 509; Israelitische Wochenschrift jur die Religiosen 
und Sodden Interessen des Judentums (Breslau, Germany), VII (1876), 433; Isaac M. 
Wise and Max B. May, The History of the K. K. Bene Teshurun, of Cincinnati, Ohio, 
from the Date of Organization (Cincinnati, 1892). 

3* Arthur J. Lelyveld, "Economic Life of American Jewry, 1860-1877" (Prize 
Essay, Hebrew Union College Library), pp. 163 ff. For greater detail, see Allan 
Tarshish, "The Rise of American Judaism" (Doctoral thesis, Hebrew Union 
College Library), note 127. 

3 * Israelitische Wochenschrift, XII (1881), 162; Archives Israelites (Paris), XXV 
(1864), 498. 



capitalistic groups? Were they pioneers or followers? Did they 
contribute significantly to American economic development? 
We turn now to a consideration of these questions. 


Jewish economic activity did not exist in a vacuum, nor were 
Jews business geniuses whose talents defied the laws of the 
economic order in which they lived. They may have been 
strengthened on the anvil of centuries of persecution; being 
compelled to live on the periphery of medieval society, they 
may have learned how to take advantage of any slight op- 
portunity; they may have been sharpened by talmudic study 
and vitalized by Jewish education; but, for the most part, their 
success could be attributed to the remarkable expansion and 
development of the United States at that time. They, too, were 
affected whenever and wherever there were economic disloca- 
tions and recessions. 

When the country was expanding slowly, between 1840 and 
1860, Jewish economic development was gradual. With the 
outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the whole country suffered a 
temporary depression due to the sudden loss of Southern 
accounts, the cancellation of many Southern debts, and the 
uncertainty of events. Jewish business was affected propor- 
tionately. The depression was, however, of short duration, 
lasting only about a year, and ended when the government 
began to place orders for various goods. Then Civil War business 
boomed, especially in the North, and many Jews prospered 
with the rest of the business community. 

The wholesale clothing business as it is now known had its 
beginnings during the Civil War years. The government's 
demand for uniforms required an unusually large production 



of clothing, and by reason of their long association with the 
needle trade in Europe, Jews were particularly equipped to 
provide this need. The mass production of clothing became 
largely a Jewish enterprise. Jews exercised their ingenuity to 
provide acceptable clothing at low prices, first for government 
needs, and then for people of modest means. Thus Jews brought 
democracy by clothing all men, more or less alike. 3 3 

The boom lasted until 1873, during which time the great 
Westward Movement and the full economic revolution came 
into being. The depression, setting in in that year, lasted until 
1879 and was responsible for some 52,000 business failures. 
Although many Jews were involved in the catastrophe, it was 
reported that not one Jewish banking house suspended payment. 
On the whole, Jewish business was solid. 34 

The epic adventures of Rabbi Abraham Joseph Ash of the 
first Russian American Jewish congregation of New York are 
illustrative. The business opportunities of the Civil War caused 
him to leave the rabbinate for the hoop skirt industry, in which 
he made nearly $10,000. Becoming a lay leader of the con- 
gregation, Ash supported it generously until the panic of 1873 
caused his business to fail and he returned to the rabbinate. 
After three years he decided that business was on the upswing 
and tried again. His optimism was premature inasmuch as the 
depression lasted six years, and again he failed. This time Ash 
definitely decided that he was not a business genius and returned 
permanently to the rabbinate. 3S 

33 Judith Grecnfdd, "The Role of the Jews in the Development of the Clothing 
Industry in the United States," TWO Annual of Jewish Social Science (New York, 
1947-1948), II-III, 180-204. 

34Lelyveld, pp. 3-9; Israelitische Wochenschrift, XI (1880), 176; Jewish World 
(London), October 31, 1873; Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentoms, XXXVII (1873), 808. 

3s J. D. Eisenstein, "The History of the First Russian-American Jewish Con- 
gregation," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society [PAJHS\, IX (1901), 


Still, in the main, this was a period of expansion and 
prosperity. From 1860 to 1880, the population of the nation 
increased from thirty-one million to fifty million; the value of 
farm property from eight billion to twelve billion dollars; the 
value of domestic manufactures from two billion to more than 
five billion dollars; the number of patents issued from five 
thousand to fourteen thousand; railroad mileage from thirty 
thousand to ninety-three thousand; tons of coal mined from 
thirteen million to sixty-three million; gallons of petroleum 
produced from twenty-one million to more than one billion; 
and tons of steel produced from practically nothing to more 
than one million. 36 These figures tell the story of the basic 
economic expansion of the country and give the fundamental 
reason for the general prosperity of the Jew at that time. 


Economic activity varied in different parts of the country, and 
Jewish economic life generally followed the pattern of each 

New England, which had prospered greatly in colonial times, 
slowed down in the middle of the nineteenth century. Many of 
her former settlers, tired of wrestling with her stony ground, 
followed the covered wagon across the plains of the Middle 
West and became pioneers of westward expansion. Since new 
immigrants were not attracted to a region which was more 
or less static, New England's Jewish population did not greatly 
increase; Jewish business establishments in Boston, for instance, 
multiplied very slowly during the middle of the nineteenth 
century. 37 

3Schlesinger, p. 276. 

37Tarshish, "The Rise of American Judaism," Appendix A and B; Pilchik, 
"Economic Life, 1875-1880," pp. 5-6. 



Despite the general westward movement, the cities of the 
Middle Eastern Seaboard, which had become highly indus- 
trialized, grew considerably during this period. Large groups 
of immigrants poured into the ports of the Middle Atlantic 
Coast. Aided earlier by the opening of the Erie Canal, New 
York, as the major seaport and port of entry, expanded phenom- 
enally in this period, and Jewish economic enterprises more 
than tripled. The same situation prevailed in other cities of the 
Middle Atlantic section. 3 8 

Even before the Civil War, the slavery system had discouraged 
Southern industrialization, and as a whole this region did not 
share proportionately in the general expansion. Most of the 
new immigrants chose to settle elsewhere. The destruction 
wrought by the Civil War with its subsequent dislocations, 
together with the harsh reconstruction methods of the North, 
so crippled the South that for many years she was unable to 
partake of the favorable economic trend. The Jews of the South 
suffered with their neighbors. Jewish business in Savannah, 
Georgia, increased only slightly in this period. Business firms 
in Charleston, South Carolina, once one of the great Jewish 
centers of the nation, showed very little expansion. Although 
some sections of the South prospered, for the most part the 
region was fairly static. 3 9 

The Middle West also prospered greatly during this period, 
and so did many of the Jews who lived there. Cincinnati became 
known as "the Queen City of the West" and also as "Porkopolis" 
because of its large meat packing industry. Cincinnati's Jewish 
population, at this time of the city's greatest development, was 

a* Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," p. 27; Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1875- 
1880," pp. 6-7. 

a 9 Barnett A. Elzas, The Jews of South Carolina (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 
1905), pp. 260-61; Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," p. 34; Pilchik, "Economic 
Life, 1875-1880," pp. I3-I5- 


the largest and richest west of the Atlantic Seaboard. Thus it 
was not surprising that Isaac Mayer Wise, one of the great 
American Jewish leaders of the time, should have been one of 
Cincinnati's rabbis, and that the first permanent rabbinical 
seminary as well as the first successful religious union of con- 
gregations should have originated there. 40 

The picture was similar in Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, 
Milwaukee, and other teeming cities of the Middle West. The 
great expansion of cities like Chicago and Cleveland took place 
in the latter part of the nineteenth century and in the years 
which followed, and it was then that they far outdistanced 
Cincinnati in Jewish population and wealth. 41 

The Far West was the scene of unusual growth. The gold 
mines of California, the Great Plains west of the Mississippi, 
the transcontinental railroads, all contributed to an expansion 
of wealth unique in the annals of human history. Jews went 
with the other pioneers into mining camps and into agricultural 
towns and cities. Jewish clothing stores were established in the 
outposts; banking houses in the metropolitan centers. It has 
been reported that the standard equipment of many of these 
Jews was a shovel and a gun: a shovel with which to dig their 
way out of the snow if necessary, and a gun for protection in 
the many lawless sections of this new region. From the begin- 
ning, Jews were found in San Francisco, the nerve center of 
the Far West, and they prospered with it. 4 * 

* Die Neu&it (Vienna, Austria), XIV (1874). 

4* Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," pp. 48, 51-52; Pilchik, "Economic Life, 
1875-1880," pp. 17-18, 20-21; The Israelite (Cincinnati), I (1854), 8; ibid., IV 
(1857), 396; ibid., VII (1860), January 6; Alexander Goodkowitz [Alexander D. 
Goode], "History of Jewish Economic Life in the United States, 1830-1860" 
(Prize Essay, Hebrew Union College Library, 1933); The Occident and American 
Jewish Advocate (Philadelphia), X (No. i), 41; Archives Israelites, XVIII (1857), 59. 

4 Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," p. 56; Albert M. Friedenberg, "Letters 
of a California Pioneer," PAJHS, XXXI (1928), 135-71 (twenty-seven letters 
written by Alexander Mayer of California to relatives in 1850). 




Did Jews participate in all phases of economic life? Did they 
figure proportionately with the rest of the population in industry, 
farming, mining, merchandising, the professions, and the like? 
Or did they bulk large in only a few of these? 

As we study the business directories, the advertisements in 
newspapers, the records of congregations, communities, and 
individuals, and even the hospital statistics, we learn that Jews 
engaged in practically every endeavor possible on this broad 
and varied continent. They were in every type of mercantile 
pursuit; they were dentists, doctors, teachers, and lawyers; they 
were musicians, magicians, and opticians; they were miners 
and gold refiners; they were harness makers and locksmiths; 
they sold oil and patent medicines; they were barbers, bar- 
keepers, marble cutters, waiters, and weavers. 43 

In the upper levels of economic life they were grain kings, 
engineers, steel producers, clothing manufacturers, railroad 
financiers, and large realty brokers. 44 Abraham Hart was a 
well-known publisher at the beginning of this period; Lorenz 
Brentano began to loom large toward the latter part of the 
nineteenth century. 45 John M. Dyer of Baltimore made a 
fortune in the packing business by 1847, and Nelson Morris 

43 The Asmonean (New York), I (1849), 7-8, 63; ibid., Ill (1851), 112, 176, 183-84; 
ibid., IV (1852), 91, 108, 115, 138, 141, 147, 151, 162-63, 170, 183, 187, 196, 
198; ibid., V (1853), 73, 97; ibid., VI (1854), no, 176; ibid., VII (1855), 3, 37, 
119, 301; The Occident, X (1852-53), 41; The Hebrew (San Francisco), I, December 
18, 1863, April 8, 1864; The Weekly Gleaner (San Francisco), I (1857), 328; ibid., 
Ill, March II, 1859; The Israelite, III (1856), 108; ibid., VII (1860), 198; ibid., XI 
(1864), No. i; ibid., XIX, July 5, 1872; ibid., XXVIII (1881), No. 26; The Annual 
Reports of Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, 1857-1872, reports of 1861 and 1871. 

44 Paul Masserman and Max Baker, The Jews Come to America (New York: Bloch, 
1932), pp. 136-64; George Cohen, The Jews in the Making of America (Boston: 
Stratford Co., 1924), p. 224. 

45 Masserman and Baker, pp. 212 ff. 



did the same in Chicago after the Civil War. 46 There were 
many Jews in the rising insurance business. 4 7 The Aliens of 
Philadelphia and Joseph Stettheimer and Daniel Bettman of 
New York were among the earliest dealers in petroleum. 48 
Jews owned large quarries in Virginia, and were important 
cotton brokers. 4 9 

Colonel Samuel S. Myers pioneered in manufacturing illu- 
minating gas in Richmond, and Joshua Lazarus introduced 
it into the city of Charleston, South Carolina. s Moritz Fried- 
lander amassed wealth from grain in Chicago, and Michael 
Reese prospered from Chicago real estate. The Sutro tunnel 
was named for Adolph Sutro, its engineer. John Rosenfelt 
helped to develop the coal fields of Canada, and the Hendricks 
family of New York was prominent in the metal business. 51 
Julius Bien pioneered in lithographing, and Bernard Solomon 
was the first to introduce colored leather into the United States. s * 
Swiss-born Meyer Guggenheim came to the United States in 
1847, at the age of nineteen. Eventually he entered the smelting 
business and became one of the great industrial tycoons of 
the age. 53 

Jews were prominent in the fur trade, and in the clothing, 
tobacco, and dry goods businesses in San Francisco, and soon 

6 Ibid. t pp. 136-64. 

4?Morais, pp. 184-87, 271; Henry Cohen, "Settlement of the Jews in Texas," 
PAJHS, II (1894), 139-56. 

* 8 Morals, pp. 241-45. 

49 Herbert T. Ezekiel and Gaston Liechtenstein, The History of the Jews of Richmond, 
1369-1917 (Richmond: Herbert T. Ezekiel, 1917), pp. l6off.; Morais, p. 250. 

s Ezekiel and Liechtenstein, p. 140; Elzas, p. 192. 

s* Masserman and Baker, pp. 139 ff. 

3 Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," pp. 13-14. 

^ Dictionary of American Biography, VIII, 38; Stewart H. Holbrook, The Age of the 
Moguls (New York: Doubleday, 1953), p. 277. 



became actively interested in the development of Alaska. They 
gave Senator Cornelius Cole of California valuable information 
which he transmitted to Secretary of State William Henry 
Seward, enabling him to make the decision to purchase the 
territory of Alaska from Russia. Some Jews settled in Alaska, 
and as early as 1869 a San Francisco Jewish paper reported 
that there were fourteen Jewish residents in Sitka. They even 
planned to organize a congregation there, but this did not 
eventuate. They retained their interest in American Jewish 
affairs, and one of them, A. Levy, wrote a letter protesting the 
1869 Philadelphia conference of Reform rabbis. S4 

We have mentioned but a fraction of the innumerable 
activities of Jews. In the main, however, Jewish economic life 
fell into certain specific patterns. A rough tabulation of the 
number of business firms in existence in 1880 discloses that 
about 2 per cent were in finance, 4 per cent in jewelry, 6 per cent 
in tobacco, and approximately 50 per cent were in clothing and 
allied occupations. The rest were in miscellaneous businesses. s s 

Clothing was easily the principal Jewish business activity on 
the East Coast, in the South, in the Middle West, and in the 
Far West. 5 6 The production of men's ready-made clothes had 
begun in the iSao's, and by 1840 this industry was considered 
of some significance in the economy of New York City. Between 
1830 and 1860 most of the ready-made clothing was of the 
cheap variety for sailors, coal miners, and the poor. Better 
clothes were still being made to order. Until about 1850 most 

54 Rudolph Glanz, The Jews in American Alaska, 1867-1880 (New York, 1953), 

PP- 4-43. 

ss Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1875-1880," p. 24; for a detailed listing, see Tarshish, 

"The Rise of American Judaism," note 170. 

s Minute Book, Register of Marriages of Temple Emanu-El of New York, 1845- 

1897; Goode, "Jewish Economic Life, 1830-1860"; Glazer, pp. 196 ff.; Snyder, 

History of Congregation Brith Sholom of Springfield, Illinois. 



of the tailors were English or native Americans. Then many of 
the new Irish immigrants entered the industry, to be followed 
by the Germans who soon began to dominate it. 

The introduction of the sewing machine in 1850 did much 
to stimulate the expansion of the industry. Efficiency was greatly 
increased, and mass production was begun by the Germans, 
who introduced the division of labor. Separate workers were 
used for operating the machines, basting, finishing, etc. Then 
came the Civil War which, as we have seen, created a tremen- 
dous demand for ready-made clothing. 

Thus the industry came into its own, and the following 
statistics reveal the story. In 1850 there were some 4,200 shops 
with a capital investment of $12,500,000 producing $48,000,000 
worth of products with 96,000 workers. By 1860 there were 
fewer shops (the shops had become larger), some 4,000 of them, 
but the capital investment had more than doubled: $27,000,000. 
Production, too, had almost doubled and could now be estimated 
as worth about $80,000,000. The workers had increased, but 
not nearly proportionately; there were some 115,000. In 1870 
there were some 8,000 concerns, about twice as many as there 
had been in 1860, but capital investment was almost $150,- 
000,000, approximately six times what it had been in 1860. 
Because of the introduction of machinery, however, the number 
of workers actually dropped to 108,000. By 1880 the number of 
firms had decreased to some 6,000, but, having more machinery, 
these larger concerns were able to manufacture clothing worth 
$209, 000,000. S7 

Jewish success in the clothing industry resulted not only 
from mass production, but also from the innovations of such 
new methods as small profits, reduced prices, direct selling, the 
use of specialized clothing stores, and the like. The number of 

"Judith Grcenfdd, #&, II-III, 180-204. 


Jewish clothing houses throughout the country was legion. 
Practically every large city had some important clothing man- 
ufacturer. The firm of Hart, Schaffner and Marx of Chicago 
was probably the most famous. s 8 In New York City, 80 per cent 
of all retail, and 90 per cent of all wholesale clothing firms, 
were owned by Jews. In the rest of the country, 75 per cent of 
the clothing companies were Jewish, and most of them were 
controlled by Jews. 59 The department store, the eventual 
outgrowth of the clothing store, appeared in almost every city 
throughout the country, most of them owned by Jews. Macy's, 
Saks's, Gimbel's, Lifs, Snellenburg's, and Bamberger's are 
only a few of the numerous department stores which spread 
throughout the land and provided efficient buying for millions 
of Americans. 

Jews became prominent in the shoe industry and were leaders 
in the field for a number of years, with Cincinnati and Chicago 
as the principal centers. Probably the most famous firm was 
that of the Florsheim Shoe Company of Chicago. o The junk 
business had its beginning in this period and gradually became 
controlled by Jews. A number of steel companies, though not 
the largest ones, grew from some of these businesses, among 
which were the Inland Steel Company of Chicago, the Pollak 
Steel Company of Cincinnati, and the Schonthal Steel Com- 
pany of Columbus, Ohio. 6 J 

Although only 2 per cent of Jewish business was in finance, 
banking, and brokerage, this proportion was greater than that 
of the general population. Jews were instrumental in the 
development of railroads, in the underwriting of United States 

s Klchik, "Economic Life, 1875-1880," pp. 1-3. 
**Ibid. 9 pp. 6-7. 
60 Ibid., pp. 1-3. 
6l /&ttf., pp. 9-10. 


bonds, and in the expansion of many new industries. The great 
New York firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Company played an impor- 
tant part in the expansion of the "iron horse/' especially under 
the leadership of Jacob H. Schiff, who came to the United 
States in 1865. 62 

The Seligman brothers also engaged in financing Western 
railroads and provided subscribers for the $200,000,000 loan 
which Jay Cooke floated for the United States Government 
during the Civil War. Associated with them was August Belmont, 
who, as the American representative of the Rothschilds, became 
one of the richest Jews in the United States. The Dictionary of 
American Biography estimates that Belmont's most valuable service 
for the North during the Civil War was perhaps "a constant cor- 
respondence with influential friends in Europe, the Rothschilds 
and others, in which he set forth forcibly the Northern side in 
the great conflict .... His influence upon public opinion in 
financial and political circles, both in England and throughout 
Continental Europe, was of value to Lincoln and his advisors." 
Belmont's wife was a non-Jewess, a daughter of Commodore 
Matthew C. Perry, and he showed very little interest in Jewish 
affairs. His descendants are all Christians. 6 3 

The Lehmans, Emanuel and Mayer, amassed wealth as 
cotton brokers, then went into the banking business, and 
became directors of many banks, railroads, and cotton mills. 
When the State of Alabama, in 1873, had difficulty in selling a 
large issue of bonds, the Lehmans took over the whole issue. 64 
Other Jews active in the expansion of railroads were William 
Solomon Rayner of Baltimore; Charles Hallgarten and Com- 
pany of Chicago; Philip Heidelbach, who founded the Cincinnati 

6a Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875,*' pp. 14-16; Burton J. Hendrick, Tfa 
Jews in America (New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1923), pp. 19 ff. 

*s Schappes, pp. 451 ff. 

** Pilule, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," p, 37. 


firm of Seasongood and Company, promoted the Cincinnati 
Southern Railroad, and was a director of the Little Miami 
Railroad; and Moritz Kopperl, who made his wealth as a coffee 
importer and then became head of the National Bank of Texas 
and president of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad. 65 

There were a number of other leading Jewish bankers through- 
out the country in both large and small cities. 6 6 The banking 
and commercial interests of Ligonier, Indiana, were for a time 
so exclusively in the hands of the Straus brothers that the town 
was often jokingly called Strausville. 6 7 When the Open Board 
of Stockbrokers was organized in 1851 in New York City, five 
Jewish stockbrokers were among the charter members: George 
Henriques, Emanuel B. Hart, Charles G. Allen, S. M. Schafer, 
and Simon Schafer. 6 8 Albert Speyer was the broker for Jay 
Gould and James Fisk when they tried to corner the gold 
market in 1 869. When the attempt failed, they repudiated their 
obligations, but Speyer did not, and died a poor man. 6 9 

Approximately 34 per cent of all Jews were in commerce, 
manufacturing, and finance, the majority being in commerce. In 
the small communities this percentage was even higher. In the 
larger communities many more were employees. 7 Proportion- 
ately, this percentage was much higher than that of the general 
population, most of whom were laborers, farmers, or craftsmen. 

65 Isidor Blum, The Jews of Baltimore from Early Days to 1910 (Baltimore: Historical 
Review Publishing Co., 1910), p. xi; Goode, "Jewish Economic Life, 1830-1860"; 
Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1875-1880,'* pp. 21-22. 

66 Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1860-1875," P- 3 2 > not e 173; Pilchik, "Economic 
Life, 1875-1880,'* pp. IO-I2. 

*? Ibid., p. 1 8. 

68 Lelyveld, p. 141. 

69 Samuel Walker McCall, The Patriotism of the American Jew (New York: Plymouth 
Press, 1924), p. 190. 

? a Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1875-1880," pp. 24-26. 



For centimes, of course, the only opportunity permitted Jews 
in economic life was that of the middleman. When they came 
to the United States they naturally went first into those fields 
which they knew and understood. Jewish leaders exhorted them 
to follow the normal proportions of economic life. But they 
were not interested in proportions; they were more interested 
in using their abilities to make the most of the opportunities 
which the country opened before them. 7 x 

This disproportion in the commercial field aroused criticism. 
An article in the Cincinnati Presbyterian in 1863 charged that 
the commercial character of the Jews was one reason why they 
were despised. 72 In 1855 the Philadelphia Reporter claimed that 
the Jews oppressed the working people, but another Philadelphia 
paper, The Ledger, pointed out that Jews paid their employees 
higher wages than Christians. 73 In 1857, claiming that Catholic 
workers were not well treated by Jews, the Archbishop of 
Cincinnati forbade Catholics to work for them. Rabbi Max 
Lilienthal disputed the charge and threatened to urge a Jewish 
boycott of Catholic business firms. When the Catholic banker 
who had presented the charges to the archbishop absconded 
with the savings of widows and orphans, his followers were 
extremely embarrassed. 74 

Undoubtedly, some Jewish employers did take advantage of 
their employees, but, unfortunately, so did many others. The 
rise of the labor unions and the development of enlightened 
public opinion modified this situation as time went on. 

f 1 Circular of the Hebrew Agricultural Society, December, 1856, in the files of 
the Hebrew Agricultural Society among the records of the B'nai B'rith; The 
Israelite, I (1854), 44; ibid., IX (1863), 388; The Occident, XVIII (1860), 143. 

The Israelite, IX (1863), 388. 
The Occident, XIII (1855-56), 124 ff. 
Ibid., XVIII (i860), 23. 



Although unusual opportunities for prosperity prevailed in this 
period, America was no Shangri-la. Poverty still existed in the 
United States. Every man did not leap from rags to riches, and 
many abuses were rampant in this period of laissezjaire. 

Labor unions began in the United States in 1829, but did not 
at first coalesce into large-scale organizations. In addition to 
seeking better working conditions and wages, they also ex- 
pressed a deep interest in free education and were instrumental 
in its incorporation as an integral part of the American tradition. 
The labor movement in the United States and the idea of the 
class struggle were continually nourished from Europe. Sporadic 
strikes were attempted from time to time, although very few 
were really effective. Perhaps the most far-reaching strike of 
the early period was that of the tailors in 1850. It was not 
entirely successful, but it did help to cement relations between 
tailors of different nationalities and it did result in the formation 
of a union consisting of 2,000 members. The depression of 
1854-1855 and the panic of 1857, however, broke up most of the 
unions. But again, by 1863-1864, a number of strikes for higher 
wages and other benefits initiated a new effort to form labor 
unions, most of them also short-lived. 

New York was the center of the early German labor movement 
in America, but it spread elsewhere wherever German labor 
settled Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and, 
to a minor degree, Chicago and Milwaukee. In the twenty 
years before the Civil War, German workers played a significant 
role wherever labor battled with capital. They also organized 
social clubs and mutual aid societies which frequently developed 
into unions. These groups were constantly influenced by new 
refugees from abroad who had often been active in secret 
communistic societies and had been harried out of their native 



countries. Short-lived papers were published from time to time. 
One of these, called the Republik der Arbeiter (Republic of the 
Workers), was published by an Arbeiterbund (Workers 3 League) 
dedicated to founding and supporting a communist colony in 
Wisconsin. This paper appeared as a monthly in January, 1850, 
became a weekly from April, 1851, to December, 1854, and 
then reverted to a monthly until its discontinuance in July, 

While the intellectuals influenced the workers, their attitude, 

in turn, was modified by American workers who were not 
interested in the destruction of American political institutions, 
but sought, rather, economic improvement and reform within 
the existing political framework. 7S Even though small groups of 
intellectuals were convinced that the only solution for economic 
problems lay in some Utopian project, and though they did form 
small colonies with the purpose of putting into practice the ideal 
of a completely equal and free society, these experiments were 
all short-lived. It was hard, moreover, for such ideas to take 
root in an America where, for example, it could be reported in 
1849 that on the West Coast carpenters received $16 a day, and 
common laborers $10 a day. ?6 

Nevertheless, after the Civil War, branches of the Inter- 
national Workingman's Association, established first in Europe 
in 1 864, were organized in some of the industrial centers of the 
United States, first only among German immigrants and then 
among some native Americans. The first number of the weekly 
Arbezter-eitung (Workers' Newspaper) was issued in 1873. A 
Social Democratic Party was organized by German immigrants 
in 1874, but its meetings were raided by the police and by 

75 Ernst, pp. 109-14. 

7* Frederika Brenner, America of the Fifties ("Scandinavian Classics," Vol. XXIII 
[New York: The American Scandinavian Foundation, 1924]). 



outraged citizens. 77 Socialism had little appeal in a country 
where the opportunities of private wealth were greater than the 
dreams of the socialistic state. 

Labor groups not interested in theories and Utopias but in 
wages and hours of work had slightly more success. In 1866 the 
National Labor Movement, the first general organization, was 
formed, but lasted only four years. As the country became more 
industrialized, however, the demand for an organized labor 
group became more insistent. In 1879 a national union, the 
Knights of Labor, was organized with the purpose of uniting all 
labor white and negro, male and female. It departed from 
the old type of craft union based on the medieval guild because 
it was felt that the industrial conditions of the time required 
more complete unionization than the crafts could achieve. It 
was, however, ahead of the times. The rapidly changing social 
and economic situation, the incompetence of some of its leaders, 
and the illiteracy of many of its members led to its dissolution. 

It was not until 1881 that the first labor union destined to 
occupy a permanent and important place in American life came 
into being. The American Federation of Labor was organized 
by Adolph Strasser and Samuel Gompers, the latter an English 
Jew. A federation of craft unions, it was more efficient and 
realistic in its goals than the Knights of Labor. Its real power, 
however, was not achieved until the twentieth century. 7 8 

The majority of the people at that time were not interested 
in labor unions, and many violently opposed them as hindrances 
to their aspirations towards prosperity. The great West, stretch- 
ing from the Mississippi River to the Pacific, with its cheap 
farms, its great mineral deposits, and its growing towns, served 

1 1 Charles and Mary Beard, The Rise of American Civilization (New York: Macmillan, 
1936), II, 249-52. 
i*Ibid. y pp. 211-22. 



as a safety valve for the East. The slogan "Go West, young 
man" was more effective than the cry of the class struggle. 
Even in the East, expansion and opportunity, surpassing any 
in the history of the world, provided sufficient vistas and actual 
improvement for the majority of the people. Most of the Jews 
of the period showed little interest in labor unions or in plans 
for changing society. Compared to the restrictions of their 
former homes, the American scene offered wide freedom and 
hope. Instead of being concerned with changing society, they 
were more interested in changing and adjusting themselves to 
take advantage of what lay before them. 

The problem of labor and capital appeared to many only a 
temporary matter. Most workers in garment factories had high 
hopes of becoming employers themselves, and it must be 
remembered that the majority of Jews of that period were 
engaged in small businesses and individualized occupations. 
To them, the basic problem was simply to make the most of the 
opportunities offered them. 


Some Jews did enter the professions. In Cincinnati, in 1867, 
there were four doctors, six lawyers, fourteen teachers, one 
chemist, and one engineer in a Jewish population of some 
12,000. In 1874, with approximately the same population, 
there were eight doctors, fourteen lawyers, fourteen teachers, 
and others in various professional vocations. A similar per- 
centage was found in New York and other cities. 79 These ratios 
were small compared with the present, for the mid-nineteenth 
century saw only the beginning of the rise of a substantial 

7 Blum, pp. 149 ff.; Allgemeine J&tfong des Judentums, XXXIII (1869), 53; Die 
Ncuzfiti XIV (1874); Israditische Wochensckrift, VI (1875), 421; Pilchik, ''Economic 
Life, 1860-1875," pp. 34, 37, and other directories in his two essays. 



Jewish professional class. The great majority of the Jews were 
new to the country. Professional pursuits had been forbidden 
to them in Europe, and not enough time had elapsed for them 
to receive the necessary education in the United States. It is 
true that a number of the earlier Jewish settlers were engaged 
in professions, but business offered the newly arrived Jew the 
quickest avenue for advancement. 


Agriculture was one of the hotly debated subjects of Jewish 
life at this time, but there was more debate about it than action. 
Many Jewish leaders believed that more Jews should engage in 
agriculture to produce a more normal distribution of occupa- 
tions and to demonstrate a more permanent rootage in America. 
The Board of Delegates of American Israelites, the Alliance 
Israelite Universelle, the B'nai B'rith, the Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations, and other organizations planned to 
settle Jews upon farms. 

In the early part of that period very little was accomplished 
along these lines, but in 1881 the New York branch of the 
Alliance Israelite Universelle joined with the Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations in a project to settle East European 
Jews on farms in Louisiana. The governor of that state had 
offered 160 acres of fertile ground in Catahoula Parish to any 
family desiring to settle there. One hundred and seventy-three 
Russian Jews accepted the offer, but the plan proved a failure. 
The men found the weather too hot, many contracted malaria, 
the Mississippi River flooded the land, and they missed their 
wives and families. Eventually they all abandoned the project. 

Solomon Franklin of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, tried to settle 200 
East European Jews on his farmland, but nothing came of this 
venture either. Nevertheless, a few colonies of Jewish fanners 



were established in California; Louisiana; Long Island, New 
York; as well as near St. Louis, Missouri, and Pine Bluff, 
Arkansas. The Baron Maurice de Hirsch philanthropies were 
partially successful in settling a group of Jewish farmers in New 
Jersey in the 1890*8. Individually, there were a number of Jews 
who became active in farming in various sections of the country. 
A Jewish traveler reported that he had found a number of 
Jewish sheepherders in California, one of them owning 30,000 
sheep. 80 But the percentage of Jewish farmers remained small. 
The long centuries of European persecution and the legal 
restrictions against Jews' owning land had had their effect. The 
Jews of this era were not conditioned in mind or habit to go 
onto the land. As time went on, however, more Jews did become 

80 The Asmonean, IV (1851), 15,* ibid., XII (1855), 20; The Occident, XVII (1860), 
295; Morals, chapter XXXV; Max Heller, Jubilee Souvenir of Temple Sinai, New 
Orleans, 1872-1922 (New Orleans, 1922), wherein is described an attempt on the 
part of the New York branch of the Alliance Israelite Universelle and the Union 
of American Hebrew Congregations, with the cooperation of the governor of 
Louisiana, to settle Jews in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, in 1881; Proceedings of the 
Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Cincinnati: Bloch), I (1873-79), 282; 
Allgemeine %eitung des Judentums, XIX (1855), 565, describes the organization of an 
Agricultural Society in New York in 1855; ibid., XXI (1857), 132, describes the 
organization in New York of the American Jewish Agricultural Society; ibid., 
XXIV (1860), 653, reports the efforts of Myer Friede, president of Congregation 
Bene El of St. Louis, with the assistance of a member of the Missouri Legislature, 
to give free land to German Jewish settlers,- ibid. 9 XXXVI (1872), 854, reports 
another plan for settlement near Pine Bluff, Arkansas; American Jewish Historical 
Society (AJHS), letter 3O7b, Alliance Israelite Universelle to the Board of Delegates 
of American Israelites, July 12, 1872; AJHS, letter 3070, the Board of Delegates of 
American Israelites to Rev. M. Fluegel, Pine Bluff, Ark., August 21, 1872; AJHS, 
letter 3070; AJHS, letter 225, Simon Bennann, New York, to the Board of Delegates 
of American Israelites, May 23, 1860; Minute Book of the Executive Committee of 
the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, June 6, 1860; Proceedings of the 
Board of Delegates of American Israelites, 1877; I. J. Benjamin, Drei Jakre in 
Amerika, 1^-62 (Hanover, Germany, 1862), pp. 234 ff.; Allgemeine %eitung des 
Judentums, XXXVIII (1874), 612. 




There was in the United States a Jew who, though not a farmer, 
contributed greatly to farming and agriculture. David Lubin 
was born in Poland in 1849. He settled in California, went 
into the dry goods business, introduced the one-price system, 
and became popular throughout the region because of his 
honesty and kindness. He became interested in agriculture as 
the farmers, who were his customers, discussed their problems 
with him. At first he felt that local groups of farmers should 
unite for co-operative action. Then he realized the need for 
association on a state-wide basis and, finally, the necessity of 
national and international organization. He came to the conclu- 
sion that an International Institute of Agriculture was vital for 
the well-being of farmers throughout the world. 

Retiring from business, Lubin devoted all his energies toward 
fulfilling such a plan. Unable to convince the authorities in 
Washington, he went to Europe and visited one capital after 
another. Eventually he persuaded Victor Emmanuel III, the 
king of Italy, to sponsor the International Institute of Agricul- 
ture, which was first convoked in 1905. The king donated a 
building, a permanent Institute was established, and David 
Lubin became the United States representative, serving until 
his death. Later this Institute was merged with the League of 
Nations, and now is part of the United Nations. 8 x 


Was the Jew a follower or a leader in business? Did he pioneer 
in forming new economic patterns, or did he simply accept the 
situations which he found? The Jew did pioneer in the clothing 

81 George Cohen, The Jews in the Making of America (Boston: Stratford Co., 1924), 
P- 134- 



business; he developed it on the basis of mass production, and 
brought about democracy in men's attire. In this field he took 
the lead in initiating the practice of smaller profits and lower 
prices. He helped to create the department store as a normal 
part of the American scene. 

During the Civil War, many Jewish bankers were able, 
through their European connections, to tap for the United 
States Government sources of funds not available to others. 
Individual Jewish bankers helped to develop the railroad 
industry in various parts of the country. Jewish businessmen in 
many towns were leaders in the growth of their communities. 
Joseph Pulitzer was an outstanding personality in the newspaper 
field. As individuals, a number of Jews pioneered in many areas. 

It must be remembered that Jews constituted a small minority 
and did not control any field except clothing. As a group, they 
usually followed the patterns set before them, though individ- 
ually many exercised leadership and ingenuity. Small Jewish 
bankers in the outposts took risks and displayed daring in many 
business operations. It can be said generally that in the fields 
in which they were interested they contributed much in leader- 
ship, courage, ingenuity, and foresight. Proportionately, more 
Jews were employers than other Americans. In the smaller 
centers, their ratio as businessmen was sometimes as high as 
85 per cent or 90 per cent. In the larger centers less than one- 
third of the Jews were heads of businesses, and a little more 
than two- thirds were employees. 82 Since 75 per cent of the 
Jews lived in the larger cities, it is obvious that the majority of 
them were employees. 8 3 Many Jews became prosperous but, 
in the main, they did not approach the imperial wealth of the 

Sa Pilchik, "Economic Life, 1875-1880," pp. 5-6. 

*s A summary of the activities and business interests of Jews in various parts of 
the country in the period between 1870 and 1880 is given in Tarshish, "The Rise 
of American Judaism," note 207. 



Morgans, Drexels, Hills, Rockefellers, and the other great 
economic tycoons of this period. 

It can be said, in summation, that, though Jews figured in 
most enterprises as individuals, they were chiefly concentrated 
in the mercantile pursuits, especially clothing. There were only 
a few Jewish farmers and a sprinkling of professionals. The Jew 
tended to be an independent merchant. He engaged in many 
risk activities. He was helpful, in greater proportion than his 
numbers, in the expansion and development of the country. 
He was not so poor as the poorest, but not so rich as the richest. 
He bulked large in the middle class. 


A Retrospective View of Isaac Leaser's 
Biblical Work 


A. LITTLE over a hundred years ago a memorable 
event occurred in American Jewish history: the publication of 
Isaac Leeser's English translation of the Hebrew Bible. T With 
this translation Leeser gave to the American Jews what was to 
become perhaps their most important book for two generations 
of Jews fully or partially absorbed into American society and 
culture. He gave them the version of the Bible which they were 
to use in synagogues, schools, and homes until 1917, when it 
was replaced by a newer translation issued by the Jewish 
Publication Society of America. 

The centennial of Leeser's translation was duly marked in 
1 953 by Anita L. Lebeson, * who noted the laudatory remarks 
of such historians and literary critics as Moshe Davis, Max L. 
Margolis and Alexander Marx, and Meyer Waxman. Yet, to 
the knowledge of this writer, no detailed appreciation of the 

Dr. Matitiahu Tsevat is Assistant Professor of Bible and Special Librarian of the 
Semitics Collection at the Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion in 

I cordially thank my friends Maxwell Whiteman and Stanley F. Chyet for their 
manifold assistance in the preparation of this article. 

1 The book was published in December, 1853, but was unavailable to the public 
until January, 1854. 

3 Congress Weekly, XX (No. 37; December 28, 1953), 11-13. 



translation has been attempted. It should be put off no longer. 
Time has granted our generation the aloofness from an un- 
warranted praise and blame which cannot be expected from 
the readers and scholars to whom Leeser's Bible was a steady 
and personal experience, 3 and the prediction, made in 1920, 
that "we shall soon be thinking of putting Isaac Leeser's memory 
in a museum of Jewish antiquities as a specimen of a lost type," 
has become true. The prognosis is the concluding sentence of 
Israel Abrahams* fine essay, "Leeser's Bible." 4 Abrahams con- 
cerned himself mainly with the English style of the translation, 
a style which he deemed so poor that he believed that this was 
the main reason why English Jews did not accept Leeser's 
version. 5 This writer will, therefore, pay no attention to its 
English garb, and will refer the reader to the discussion by 

Leeser's work on the Bible was not limited to the 1853 transla- 
tion. In 1845 he had published an edition of the Pentateuch in 
Hebrew and English and, in 1848, a Hebrew Bible. The latter 6 

s The discussion on the translation was opened by Isidor Kalisch soon after its 
publication (The Israelite, I [1854], 21 f., 59, 170). Kalisch reviewed Genesis, the 
beginning of Exodus, and a few verses from Isaiah 53. Some of his strictures are 
right, some wrong, some petty, some nasty. A rejoinder by Isaac Mayer appeared 
in The Occident, XII (1854), 358-64, to which the translator himself added some 

* Israel Abrahams, By-Paths in Hebraic Bookland (Philadelphia, 1920), pp. 254-59. 
s Ibid., p. 257. 

6 Rosenbach, in Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society -, XXX (1926), 
431, No. 625, records the edition as follows: 

DW33 rmn, seu Biblia Hebraica secundum editiones Jos. Athiae, 
Joannis Leusden, Jo. Simonis aliorumque, mprimis Everardi van der Hooght, 
D. Henrici opitii, et Wolfii Heidenham, cum additionibus clavique masoretica 
et rabbinica Augusti Hahn. Nunc denuo et emandata [emendata?] ab Isaaco 
Leeser, V.D.M. Synagogae Mikve Israel, Phila. et Josepho Jaquett, V.D.M. 
Presbyter Prot. Epis. Ecclesiae, U.S. Editio stereotypa. Novi Eboraci: Sump- 
tibus Joannis Wiley, 161 Broadway; et Londini, 13 Paternoster Row. Phila- 
delphia: J. W. Moore typis L. Johnson et soc. Phila. 1848. 



is a fine piece of printing as well as a careful edition of the text. 
Leeser gives due credit to earlier editions of which he made full 
use, particularly the edition issued by August Hahn, whose 
three prefaces and lists he incorporated into his own edition. 
Those lists include two tables of the haftarot (readings from the 
Prophets), one in the order of the weekly portions, the other in 
the order of the biblical books from which they are taken; 
and an alphabetical index of the Hebrew and Aramaic Masoretic 
terms used in the footnotes, with translations, explanations, and 
examples. All prefatory matter and lists, with the exception of 
the first, are in Latin. 

In his own preface, Leeser correctly says that this is the 
first vocalized Bible printed in America. This statement implic- 
itly takes cognizance of the publication of another, yet un- 
vocalized edition of the Bible on this side of the Atlantic. This 
is the edition prepared anonymously by Jonas (Jonathan) 
Horwitz, and published by Thomas Dobson in Philadelphia in 
i8i4. 7 Leeser performed a philological and practical service 
when he published a complete Masoretic Bible, i. e., one with 
vowel signs and accents. At the same time, the publication of 
the vocalized text could be, and probably was to be, understood 
as a silent protest against certain anti-Jewish prejudices which 
had been voiced on the occasion of the publication of the 1814 
Bible when the vowel points "were spoken of by local the- 
ologians as a Jewish scheme to make the acquisition of Hebrew 
difficult/' 8 

Jaquett*s contribution consists of a comparison of the collections of various readings 
of Benjamin Kennicott and Giovanni Bernardo de Rossi and also certain earlier 

Edwin Wolf 2nd and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews in Philadelphia 
from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson (Philadelphia, 1957), pp. 308-11. 

8 The Quarterly Theological Magazine* III (1814), 168, cited in Wolf and Whiteman, 
p. 310. This argument is a latter-day link in the chain of Christian accusations, 



Another passage in Leeser's preface sheds some light on his 
philosophy. After saying that he was compelled to make a very 
limited selection among various available readings, he gives the 
principles of his selection: Manuscriptuum bonorum possessio facile 
hoc pension [scil. seligendi] fecisset; sed his non presentibus, reflectio 
religiose et typographiarum variorum comparatio vices ex necessitate 
suppeditavissent. 9 To the modern reader, this statement of 
principles comes as a surprise. Not only is the reader unwilling 
a priori to allow any religious considerations to influence the 
reconstruction of a text, but he is doubtful as to how considera- 
tions of this order can solve strictly technical questions, partic- 
ularly since the variants from which the scholar has to make 
his selection concern only the tiniest minutiae and in no way 
touch on the contents of Scripture, much less on articles of 
faith. Deferring to the end of this article an attempt at a fuller 

beginning with the Church Fathers, that the Jews manipulated the biblical text 
in order to buttress their position in Christian-Jewish theological disputes. It is 
needless to stress that it was not Horwitz's intention to clear access to the Hebrew 
Bible by removing vicious Masoretic roadblocks. Rather, the reason is plainly 
expressed in an announcement of the new publisher, Dobson, who says that "this 
edition will be unencumbered with the Masoretical points now generally exploded 
by the best scholarship in the Hebrew language" (Wolf and Whiteman, p. 310). 
Dobson's statement is quite unexceptional if read in the broader context of certain 
trends within eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century biblical philology espe- 
cially in France (cf. the second part, pp. xix-xxvii, of L. F. Lalande's preface to 
the fourth edition [1781] of F. Masclef, Grammatica Hebraica punctis massoreticis 
libera) and England (mentioned in Wilhelm Gesenius, Geschickte der hebraischen 
Sprache und Sckrift . . . [1815], p. 209, notes). The Syriac Bible did not fare better. 
When Samuel Lee published a new edition for the British Bible Society in 1823 
(1824), his only "contribution" to Syriac philology was the omission of the vowel 
signs from the text of Bryan Walton's and Edmund Castellus* polyglot of 1654- 
1657, which he otherwise reproduced faithfully. At the time it was thought that by 
omitting something one made a contribution. 

"Good manuscripts would render this task [of selecting] easy; in their absence, 
religious consideration [s] and comparison of various printed books had alternately 
to suffice." 


discussion of Leaser's approach, I do nothing more than mention 
these problems here. 

It is convenient, in what follows, to treat Leeser's edition of 
the Pentateuch and his later translation of the whole Bible as 
one. In 1845 he published the Pentateuch in Hebrew and 
English complete with hqftarot,** a work of which he says with 
some reason: "I doubt whether the precious word of God ever 
appeared among us [Jews] in a more beautiful form than the 
volumes ... of which the present is the first." * x This is, remark- 
ably enough, the only instance in which he speaks of his biblical 
work in terms other than modesty and humility. The Pentateuch 
is, of course, not merely the first and most important part of 
the Bible, but also the center of the Sabbath and festival services, 
and it is for this reason that Leeser must have been particularly 
anxious to see a Hebrew and English edition of it in the hands 
of his fellow Jews. 

But the Pentateuch was only preparatory to his 1853 transla- 
tion of the Bible. 12 Engaged in this translation since 1838, 13 
Leeser thus realized "a desire [which he had] entertained for 
more than a quarter of a century." I4 He incorporated his earlier 
pentateuchal translation into his later work, but revised it by 

n:n K'D^HK^B HB .iry^ f | h'\ m p pnr japn vmo rmn .DnVa mm 
TWO lA mx n-iifi nwa T-TDDTT nixaa JDIP i:up TMI hv. The Law of God. Edited, 
with Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, by Isaac Leeser (Philadelphia: 
G. Sherman, 5605 [1844-1845]). 

1 x Preface, p. vii. Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century editions, which many would 
indeed find more beautiful, were probably unknown to Leeser. 

1 a D'airwi W33 mm The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures: Carefully Translated 
According to the Massoretic Text, on the Basis of the English Version, after the Best Jewish 
Authorities; and Supplied with Short Explanatory Notes (Philadelphia, 5614 [1853-1854]). 

** Pentateuch, Preface, p. 5; Bible, Preface, at the end. 
x < Bible, Preface, at the beginning. 



carefully changing the wording on almost every page z s and by 
providing it with notes that were more copious. x 6 

In his prefaces to the translations, Leeser explained his 
purpose: to present them "to the Jewish public," 17 "to his 
fellow-Israelites." 18 Their usefulness to the Gentiles, Leeser 
proposed, lay in the fact that they embodied the Jewish under- 
standing of the Bible as enshrined in an age-old tradition. 1 * 
This Jewish understanding was not, however, to be regarded on 
the same plane with other understandings. It was, Leeser 
declared, the true understanding because it comes closest to the 

1 s As an example of relatively far-reaching changes, we give in juxtaposition three 
verses from Genesis 49, a chapter which hardly anyone will ever translate to his 
own satisfaction. In the case of passages of lesser difficulty, Leeser naturally had 
less occasion to make changes. 

Pentateuch Bible 

4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not Unstable as water, thou shalt not have 

excel . . . then defiledst thou my couch, the excellence . . . then defiledst thou 

which I was wont to ascend. the one who ascended my couch. 

' A lion's whelp thou art, Judah, when Like a lion's whelp, O Judah, from the 
from the prey, my son, thou risest. . . prey, my son, thou risest. . . 

x * Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of Zebulun shall dwell at the margin of 

the sea; and he shall be at the haven of the seas; and he shall be at the haven 

ships; and his border shall be unto of ships; and his border shall be near 

Zidon. Zidon. 

With respect to verse 13 in the translation of 1853, Leeser was concerned with 
English style and translated the same Hebrew word (*]in) by two English words 
("margin" and "haven"). Thus he surrendered his faithful adherence to the 
Hebrew diction which is found in the translation of 1845, and which is a paramount 
principle in the translation of the Bible. Gf. Franz Rosenzweig, "Die Schrift und 
Luther," in Martin Buber und Franz Rosenzweig, Die Schrift und ikre Verdeiitsckung 
(1936), pp. n6f. 

1 * About a sixth of the book (Preface, at the end). In the preface to the Pentateuch, 
p. x, he regrets that he could not provide more notes to that work. 

1 7 Pentateuch, Preface, at the beginning. 

18 Bible, Preface, at the beginning. 
*9 Ibid., p. iv, at the top. 


intentions of the biblical authors. To show this, one had only to 
render a faithful translation into a modern language. Leeser, 
therefore, "endeavored to make [the translation] as literal as 
possible." 20 He had "translated the text before him without 
regard to the result thence arising for his creed/ 321 and had 
"discarded every preconceived opinion." 22 "But," he goes on, 
"no perversion or forced rendering of any text was needed to 
bear out his opinions or those of Israelites in general." Judaism 
did not require "the distortion of the sacred text." 2 3 If it had, 
Leeser asserted, he would still not have deviated from rendering 
the text verbally. 24 

One need not be a student of the Bible or of Jewish tradition 
and history to realize that Leeser wanted the impossible. 
Centuries of growth and development left their indelible impres- 
sions on the Bible. The even greater changes of post-biblical 
times have continuously remolded Judaism, and with it its 
ideal foundation: its continuous interpretation of the Bible. 
The established, hence static, biblical text and its dynamic 
reinterpretation thus became two entities. Objectively, each was 
autonomous and self-contained, the common element being the 
identity of written matter a chapter, a word, a letter 
there text, here proof text. Subjectively, they were and 
are a unity wherever it has been felt that the permanence 
and identity of Judaism are preserved despite the changes and 
vicissitudes of Jewish history. Yet the subjective cannot be made 
objective. A translator of the Bible who makes a forced attempt 
to objectify the subjective brushes aside the essence either of 

ao Pentateuch, Preface, p. vii, 

ai Bible, p. iii, at the bottom. 


a 3 Pentateuch, ibid. 

*< Ibid. 



Jewish tradition or of philology whenever the two entities 
conflict. As translator and annotator, Leeser did the latter. 

With these remarks we have indicated in which aspect of 
Leeser's translation we are interested: his attempt to carry out 
the program which he laid down in his prefaces. Other aspects 
are of little concern. It would be neither fair nor intelligent to 
select knotty verses and then draw up a questionnaire and 
present it to the examinee, Isaac Leeser. Not only has biblical 
science progressed during the last hundred years; its methods 
and results are better known to, and more readily accepted by, 
the educated public today than they were in the middle of the 
nineteenth century. Throughout the millennia, moreover, prom- 
inent versions of the Bible have often been distinguished or 
properly appraised not by the linguistic accuracy with which 
they rendered difficult passages, but by their achievement of a 
specific synthesis between the ancient book and the genius of 
their times. 

As to Leeser, the translator, his Hebrew knowledge cannot be 
questioned too seriously, despite some contemporary attacks. 2 s 
Although he modestly disclaimed advanced Hebrew learning, 
he was sufficiently equipped linguistically to handle his task. 2 6 
Translations and commentaries were at his disposal, and he 
fully acknowledged his indebtedness to them, specifically to the 
King James Version, to the German Jewish translations from 
Moses Mendelssohn to Ludwig Philippson and Leopold Zunz, 2 7 
and to the medieval Jewish commentators. 

a See note 3, above, 

36 Harry M. Orlinsky says with even greater affirmation: "... the scholarship 
[of Leeser's translation] in general was on a consistently high level" (Jewish Quarterly 
Review, New Series, XLV [1954-1955], 380). 

3 1 1n several hundred notes, found in the margins of most pages, as well as in the 
preface (p. iii), explicit credit is given to Philippson. If any adverse criticism be 
called for, it would rather be the reverse, viz., that Leeser referred to Philippson 



The course of our study is thus further charted: we will, as a 
rule, compare his translation and notes with his immediate 
sources. To trace the more remote sources is beyond the scope 
of an investigation which is not concerned with the history of 
biblical interpretation, e. g., the talmudic origin and the 
subsequent transformation of expositions and concepts em- 
bodied in medieval comments which Leeser quotes. Zunz's 
translation is cited by the name of its editor, Zunz, and not by 
the names of the translators of the several books. Nor are the 
individual contributors to the Biur** recognized here. For 
comparison with Philippson's translation only the revised edition 
of 1865 could be used. 29 We now proceed to discuss Leeser's 
rendering of selected passages. 

Exodus 21:6, at the end. The Authorized (or King James) 
Version and Zunz: ". . . and he [i. e., the servant] shall serve 
him forever." Leeser 5 s 1853 biblical translation: ". . . and he 
shall serve him till the jubilee/ 5 with the note: "Lit. e for ever 3 ; 
but servitude is hereafter (Leviticus 25:10) limited to the 

jubilee ** In his 1845 pentateuchal translation, Leeser thought 

that this note, which follows the traditional explanation, was 
dispensable, and thus he left the reader with the impression 
that DVttrt> means "till the jubilee." 

and Zunz more than was necessary in an edition for popular and liturgical use. 
After all, the translation and interpretation of the* greatest part of the Bible are 
common property, or at least shared by several scholars. Yet Isaac M. Wise wrote 
in his obituary of Leeser that he had to convince Leeser, when the latter was prepar- 
ing his translation, to use Philippson's work, since Leeser had at first been unwilling 
to consult a "reformer." Wise continues: "With admirable skill, he used 
Phplippson, subsequent to the conversation] without betraying with one word 
that this was his main authority, in the notes especially" (The Israelite^ XIV [No. 
32; February 14, 1868]). 

a8 Prague, 1833-1837. 

* Since deviations from Philippson's earlier translation are indicated in the 
footnotes of the later edition, the earlier text can be reconstructed with fair certainty. 



Ezekiel 20:25 f. reads in the Authorized Version: 

[25] Wherefore 30 I gave them also statutes that were not good and 
judgments whereby they should 31 not live; [26] and I polluted them 
in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through (the fire) 3 2 all 
that openeth the womb. . . . 

This translation reproduces in the main what is written in the 
original Hebrew text. 33 The idea that God deliberately gave 
Israel bad and harmful laws has baffled readers and com- 
mentators throughout the ages. Leeser surmounts the obstacle 
by expurgating the text in his translation: 

[25] And also I let them follow statutes that were not good. . . . [26] 
And I let them be defiled through their gifts, in that they caused to 
pass (through the fire) all that openeth the womb. . . . 

The towering conception of God's plans for man leading Him 
to pervert His Law, as once He had perverted His prophecy 
(I Kings 22:21 f.), is reduced to a pedestrian restatement of 
man's free choice. The translation is then amplified by the note: 

Rashi, after Jonathan; meaning, as they had wilfully rebelled, God 
permitted them to follow their evil inclinations, till the measure of 
their sin was completed, and their destruction followed, as told in 
our history. Zunz and Philippson take it in the light that to the sinners 
the law is a means of punishment, as its transgression brings painful 
consequences [this is not their understanding, as the subsequent quota- 
tion clearly shows] ; wherefore [?] the translation of Dr. P. is as follows: 
"And I also gave them laws which were injurious (to them), and 
ordinances through which they did not live; and I made them unclean 
through their gifts, when they set apart all that opened the womb," 
and so forth: talcing Taym "as setting aside," not "as causing to pass 
(through the fire)," as given by Rashi. 

3 The Revised Standard Version [RSV] correctly reads "moreover 3 ' instead, and 
deletes the following "also.** 

3 ' RSV better: "could." 

* 3 RSV preferably: "in making them offer by fire." 

The improvements of the RSV bring out the meaning more clearly, but it is 
all there in the Authorized Version, also. 



He then concludes the note with a somersault: "But both 
constructions, though apparently so different, have at last the 
same bearing, since to the pious the law of God brings happiness 
and life, not evil and death." 

Ecclesiastes 3:21. "Who knows whether the spirit of man 
goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the nether- 
world." This translation of "the moderns," including Zunz, 34 
is explicitly rejected by Leeser in a note in favor of the following 
("after the Massorah"): "Who knoweth the spirit of the sons 
of man that ascendeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that 
descendeth downward to the earth?" It is indeed possible, but 
by no means certain, that such is the intention of the Masoretic 
vocalization. 3 s In any event, the doctrine of immortality is only 

s 4 Philippson similarly, though less accurately. 

s s it is possible, for the pointings n^j70 and nil* ft are the regular vocalizations 
of the article, serving here as a relative pronoun. This explanation is supported 
by some midrashic explanations; particularly telling is the faulty quotation of 
the biblical passage hi Tanhuma (Buber), Berakah, p. 56: mirn 'rr norurr nm, 
Y~\vb no!? [instead of the actual: Nn mTn], "and it is the spirit of the beast that 
goes down to the netherworld," which goes a long way towards eliminating an em- 
barrassing biblical statement which questions the doctrine of the hereafter. On the 
other hand, it is not certain that such was the intention of the Masoretes. n^J/tf 
and n-j^n may simply be less common forms of the interrogative n; cf. a number 
of examples listed by Alexander Sperber in Journal of Biblical Literature, LXII 
(1943), 228-30. Nor does this alternative lack midrashic attestation: nioV Tny 'a 
Hn rrtnyn DTK n nn jnv ^D "IDW pD pV DN D'apV DM rpVirr WBI p*n!? VTT ri 
'in rbyv 1 ?, "I [Moses] am going to die not knowing where my soul will go, to the 
heaven or to the netherworld, as it is said: *Who knows whether the spirit of man 
goes upward, etc.' " (Debarim Rabba, Ha'azinu, at the end). 

Incidentally, Leeser sometimes uses the term "Massorah" hi a loose sense. In a 
note to the end of Exodus 7:25 he says: "The English version ends here the seventh 
chapter, but the Massoretic text commences chap, viii only with the fifth verse 
of the common version." It would have come as a slight shock, had he been told 
that the Jews had adopted for the Hebrew Bible the chapter division of the Vulgate 
in order to facilitate reference to biblical passages in Christian-Jewish disputations, 
since the Christians were wont to quote by chapters. The division of the Vulgate 
into chapters was made, in all probability, by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, hi the early thirteenth century. For the whole question, see Shmuel 
Hakohen Weingarten's recent article, "opns!? minn npiVn", iSftuzz, XLII (1957- 



imperfectly salvaged, for Leeser translated verse 19: ". . 
[man and beast] have all one kind of spirit; so that the pre- 
eminence of man above the beast is nought." But the rules of 
Hebrew grammar of any grammar are violated, for the 
two nominative pronouns K^n in their function as subjects 
of the simple clauses, do not admit other subjects Leeser's 
5 and -H in the same clauses. 

I Samuel 3:3. Leeser's translation: ". . . while Samuel was 
lying down in (the hall of) the temple of the Lord, where the 
ark of God was." The words in parentheses are not in the text; 
Zunz and Philippson do not supply them. Leeser inserts them, 
with no note of justification, in order to comply with the Jewish 
tradition, 36 to which the Authorized Version accedes, that it is 
disrespectful to lie down in the temple proper. 

Ezekiel 44:2S>b. "They [the priests] shall not marry a 
widow . . . but a widow who is the widow of a priest they may 
marry/ 5 This is the translation by the Biur, Zunz, and Philippson. 
Leeser mentions it in a note, but rejects it in favor of the fol- 
lowing: "And a widow . . . shall they not take to themselves as 
wives . . . but whatever widow it may be, the (common) priests 
may take." It does not trouble him that his version lacks any 
textual support. He is anxious only to harmonize Ezekiel with 
Leviticus 21:7, i3f., which forbids the marriage of a widow 
to a high priest alone and thus permits ordinary priests to marry 
any widow. But while he eliminates one conflict with faraway 
Leviticus, he creates another with the protasis of the very verse 
which he is translating: "and a widow . . . shall they not take," 
which refers to all priests, for the antecedent of "they" is "anyone 

1958), 281-93. In the division of the seventh and eighth chapters of Exodus, the 
Authorized Version follows not the Vulgate, but the Masoretic, i. e., the received 
Jewish, tradition (petufiak, after verse 25 and no paragraph after verse 29). 

* d Babylonian Kiddushin 7$b. 


of the priests' 5 (verse 21). With this "translation 55 Leeser follows 
the traditional explanation to the point of rejecting the first of 
two interpretations by David Kimchi (1160-1235), an inter- 
pretation which preserves biblical harmony without violating 
the Hebrew language. In these chapters of Ezekiel envisaging 
the coming aeon, the prophet, according to Kimchi, sets higher 
standards of holiness than Moses did in the Pentateuch, whose 
laws apply to the present age; accordingly, the marriage of a 
widow will be forbidden to all priests, not only to the high 
priest. In this manner, Kimchi explains other troublesome 
passages in these paragraphs, but for Leeser these explanations 
apparently are not orthodox enough. 

Ezekiel 44:26. The Hebrew text says: "After he [a priest who 
defiled himself for a deceased relative] is cleansed, one shall 
count for him seven days" before he may enter the sanctuary. 
Again Leeser's rendering is forced: he takes the apodosis 
("one . . . days") out of the sentence by putting it within 
dashes, and makes verse 27 the apodosis instead. In so doing, 
Leeser follows Zunz and Philippson, but not the Biur, in order 
to avert a possible difference with Numbers 19:1 1, which knows 
nothing of an additional seven days of waiting. Kimchi gives 
two explanations, just as he does for 44:22, but Leeser takes no 
notice of them. 

At times Leeser translates correctly and then gives his opinion 
of the passage in a note. In such cases, the note has not the 
function of clarifying an opaque sentence, but rather of telling 
the reader that the meaning is not what he might gather from 
the plain English of the translation. 

Jeremiah 7:22 f. Leeser, like Zunz and Philippson: 

[22] For I spoke not with your fathers, and I commanded them not 
on the day of my bringing them out of the land of Egypt, concerning 
burnt-offering or sacrifice; [23] But this thing did I command them, 
saying, Hearken to my voice. . . . 



As this word of Jeremiah contradicts the whole sacrificial 
legislation of the Pentateuch, Leeser cushions it with the fol- 
lowing footnote which he has translated from Rashi: "The first 
condition was only, c lf you will hearken to my voice and keep 
my covenant, then shall you be to me a peculiar treasure* 
(Exodus 19:5)." Leeser neglects, however, to furnish the preced- 
ing verse (Jeremiah 7:21), unintelligible to the lay reader though 
it is, with some short comment which would render it 
meaningful. 37 

Psalm 78:39. "And he [God] remembered that they [the 
Israelites] are but flesh; a spirit that passeth away, and returneth 
not again." To this translation Leeser adds the note: "When 
death takes place, the spirit leaves the body and returns not to 
it in the course of nature; and death would be final unless the 
Creator himself gave new life." This is clearly the very opposite 
of what the text and its context say, but the plain meaning of 
the text cannot be accepted, OTnan n"nra mw p man OKEM* 
(Rashi, ad locum}. 

Ecclesiastes 11:9. "Rejoice, O young man, in thy child- 
hood . . . and walk firmly in the ways of thy heart, and in (the 
direction which) thy eyes see; but know thou that concerning all 
these things God will bring thee into judgment." This translation 
is supplemented by the footnote: "Both Rashi and Aben Ezra 
interpret this verse in this way: 'See what the end will be, if 
thou follow the inclination of the heart; since punishment will 
thence result. 5 " Not content with this usable and dogmatically 
unassailable comment, Leeser goes on: "Otherwise it may mean, 
that man should well take heed to regulate his conduct by the 
divine will, and not follow blindly his heart and eyes (Numbers 

* 7 E. g,, Mct&dat David, ad locum. 

* 8 "Because if you do so [i. e., explain the passage literally] you deny the resur- 
rection of the dead," 



15:39); as otherwise he will meet the punishment due to trans- 
gression." Basically this is the same as the previous explanation 
by Rashi and Ibn Ezra an explanation based in turn on the 
Midrash; the words, "otherwise it may mean/' are, therefore, 
ill-chosen. And yet, there is a difference. The older commentators 
kept the idea of the verse veiled in the warning: "If you do this, 
then. . ., therefore remember what is good for you." This 
admonition is now crudely dragged into the open, lest anybody 
be scandalized by the clash with the verse from Numbers: "Do 
not follow after your own heart and after your own eyes which 
you are inclined to go after a whoring." The overcautious 
Leeser did not acquiesce in the Midrash's removal of the 
skandalon as long ago as 1,500 years. 39 

Of the ancient versions, the Targum, which is in fact as much 
a commentary as it is a translation (into Aramaic), is referred 
to frequently. References to the Septuagint are, however, rare. 
For his translation of Exodus 24:10, "... and the place under 
his feet . . .," Leeser adduces Zunz and the Septuagint, which 
he cites in Greek. The last word of Ecclesiastes 2:25, ^&&, 
Leeser translates, according to the Hebrew text, as "more than 
I," but he mentions in a note an alternative translation, "from 
him," i. e., from God, which is based on the Septuagint, whose 
Vorlage he correctly gives as "tt&&." It is possible that he got 
this from Philippson, who refers to Georg Heinrich August 
Ewald. To Philippson, "after the Septuagint," he gives credit 
for the alternative translation of 0^2 WVX, "cakes of raisins" 
(Hosea 3:1, note). 4 The Targum is also quoted as an authority 

3 s Shemucl bar Yitzhak, quoted in several Midrashun. For the authenticity of the 
saying, see Solomon Buber, Pestfda de Rob Kakana, leaf 68b, n. 5. 

* Preferable to "flagons of wine" of the body of the translation. Leeser could have 
avoided getting the proof of the correct translation from the Greek version by 
referring to mishnaic Hebrew n', "anything made compact and substantial by 
pressing, cake" (Jastrow, s. .). 



for an emendation of a word in Psalm 54:5. The translation 
"strangers' 3 renders the text ant; a note says: "[Targum] 
Jonathan reads O^IT, c the presumptuous. 5 " 

To the uncritical reader of the foregoing analysis, Leeser's 
translation may appear in quite an unfavorable light. The 
reader may get the impression that there is a man who plays 
fast and loose with a text, a man who although expected to 
transmit the exact meaning of this text to a public which, for 
the most part, is not in a position to check the accuracy of the 
transmission fails not infrequently to adhere to such standards 
of accuracy as today are synonymous with decency and truth- 
fulness. This impression is strengthened when the analysis is 
read against the background of Leeser's own programmatic 
statements, quoted above from his prefaces, that he translated 
"as literalfly] as possible," that he undertook this work "without 
regard to the result thence arising for his creed," and that he 
abhorred "perversion or forced rendering of any text" as 
neither admissible nor necessary. For the analysis has shown, 
among other things, that the meanings of common vocables 
which were accepted and made good sense hundreds of times, 
or simple grammatical rules which were constituent to tens of 
thousands of sentences, are dispensed with in precisely those 
cases where the translator's "creed" is at stake. 

Now the objections of "the uncritical reader of the foregoing 
analysis," whom we have introduced in the preceding paragraph, 
can be disposed of quickly and easily. He is guilty of exactly 
that for which he blames Leeser: lack of historical understanding. 
The history of institutional religion and of the canons of religious 
literature is the history of attempted harmonizations. The 
beginning of periods of rationalism and enlightenment and 
times of religious reorganization often are not marked by any 
relaxation of these attempts, but, on the contrary, by invigorated 
harmonizing: man is endowed with reason and he is duty-bound 


to use it for higher purposes. Leeser stood at such a point in 
the history of the Jews in America. His was a twofold credo: 
traditionalism and rationalism. His translation mirrors these 
principles in a peculiar mutual relation. They are not engaged 
in a dualistic conflict; they dwell together in monistic harmony. 
Leeser, lacking an understanding of their heterogeneous char- 
acter and of the essential difference between the corresponding 
activities of the mind and lacking also a grasp of historic cat- 
egories, truly believed in this harmony. This belief shaped his 
translation. It made his entire biblical work a clear case of 
grammatica ancilla theologiae, not in the Kantian sense 41 that 
linguistics is the handmaid bearing the torch before theology, 
but in the scholastic sense that it is the handmaid bearing the 
train behind the mistress. 42 But if traditionalism diminished 
Leeser' s grasp of modern logical cognition, rationalism precluded 
his acceptance of the eminently historical insight of the second- 
century rabbi into the relationship of Jewish tradition to the 
Bible: nna m nn irmsD poa ovinan WIK mirr "V* (Tosefta 
Megillah at the end; Babylonian Kiddushin 4ga). Rather than 
follow such a precept, Leeser would probably have preferred to 
abstain from translating. Nor did his confident rationalism 
agree with another talmudic approach: when several rabbis ol 
the second and third centuries were confronted with contradic- 
tions between certain passages in Ezekiel 44 f. and related 
pentateuchal material, similar to that mentioned above, 44 they 
said of the Ezekiel passages: JWTrV TfiSJ W^K IT JTCnfc 4 * 

4* Streit der Fakultaten, I. Abschnitt, I, 2. 

4' The belief that religious consideration helps in selecting the best textual variant 
(see above, p. 298) may also be related to this principle. 

43 "Rabbi Jehuda says: He who translates a biblical verse literally is a liar.'* 

44 Pp. 306-7. 

45 "[The prophet] Elijah will explain this paragraph." 


(Babylonian Menahot 45a). Leeser was not willing to wait for 
the prophet, although he might well have left those verses 
unexplained in an edition in which explanatory notes are 
sprinkled sparingly and almost at random. 

These considerations will help us to gain a just appreciation 
of Leeser in his role as translator of the Bible. In the absence of 
criticism and of historical understanding, conceptions altogether 
alien to the original are bound to creep into translation and 
commentary. But lack of criticism and of historical under- 
standing does not constitute dishonesty. Leeser's translation 
betrays his uprightness and sincerity throughout. It cannot be 
emphasized too strongly that his personal integrity is beyond 

Leeser published all three editions of the Bible in less than 
nine years, between 1845 (^ translation of the Pentateuch) 
and 1853-1854 (his translation of the entire Hebrew Bible). 
With the exception of the comparatively minor assistance of 
Joseph Jaquett/ 6 he accomplished his task singlehandedly. 
Even the technical achievement was no mean feat. In the 
preparation of the manuscript, the supervision of the printing, 
and the process of proofreading Leeser employed no assistance, 
and "Jewish [which apparently means adequate] compositors" 
were not available. 47 Yet Leeser could use only a fraction of 
his time for translating, editing, and printing these works; his 
other literary, publishing, organizational, political, congrega- 
tional, and educational activities claimed the best of him. His 
work on the Bible was only one aspect of his large scheme of 
strengthening and bettering Judaism and the Jews in America. 
Seen as a phase in his master plan, rather than as a work of 
philology, his biblical work cannot but elicit our greatest respect. 

4 6 See note 6, above. 
47 Pentateuch, Preface, p. vL 


Though, as a scientific work, Leaser's translation is antiquated 
today, as it was even at the time of its publication, its significance 
as a historical and human document can be better appreciated 
now than it was a century ago. Time has not lessened that 
historical and human significance. 

David Einhorn: 

Some Aspects of His Thinking 


JVLucH has been said about David Einhorn. Not 
enough has been written, however, to appraise his genius or to 
study his influence on American Reform. This paper attempts 
to bring additional historical light to bear upon Einhorn's 
thinking through a closer analysis of one of his most important 
literary and intellectual legacies: his monthly German-language 
journal, Sinai A Voice for the Understanding and Refinement of 
Judaism. Einhorn began publishing Sinai within a year after his 
arrival in Baltimore in 1855. He continued its publication until 
January, 1862, eight months after his hasty removal from 
Baltimore to Philadelphia. The introduction to the first volume 
states that the general purpose of his publication was "the 
preservation and glorification of Judaism through its living, 
God-Spirit reflecting institutions, as well as through the removal 
of everything that has become extinct in it." x 

But Einhorn also had a personal purpose in publishing Sinai. 
Isaac Leeser's Occident and Isaac M. Wise's Israelite were already 
on the American Jewish scene. Both Leeser and Wise, however, 
represented interpretations of Judaism with which Einhorn saw 
himself in essential conflict. He felt that he, too, had to make 

Rabbi Bernhard N. Cohn is the spiritual leader of The Suburban Temple in 
Wantagh, New York, 

1 David Einhorn, Sinai A Voice for the Understanding and Refinement of Judaism, I, I. 



his views known in order to contribute to "the development of 
American congregational life." 2 He had left a controversial 
ministry in Germany and Hungary behind, and arrived in 
America as a mature individual with a profound knowledge of 
Judaism and general philosophy and with a set of ideas and 
attitudes that had already become an integral part of his 
personality. His ideas ran counter to certain current American 
Jewish congregational and rabbinic practices and attitudes. It 
was in these areas of disagreement that Einhorn hoped to 
influence Jewish life in this country. 


Einhom's Judaism is almost pure humanism. "Judaism is 
humanism." 3 "In its essence, Judaism is older than the Israelitish 
tribe. As pure humanity, as the emanation of the inborn divine 
spirit, it is as old as mankind." 4 As distinct from Orthodoxy, 
which traces the origins of Judaism back to Abraham and Moses, 
Einhorn dates the origin of divine instruction from Adam. s 
Adam is humanity personified. Abraham and Moses are the 
personifications of the Jewish people in the restricted, partic- 
ularistic, nationalistic sense, which Einhorn ultimately rejects. 
Judaism "is rooted in Adam and reaches its apex in the Messianic 
and perfected humanity." 6 The beginning and end of Judaism 
is humanism. 

The path that connects the Adam-ideal and the humanistic, 
messianic kingdom is one of man's growing awareness of the 

a ibid., vil, 319-20. 

3 Ibid., I, 293. 

Ibid., VII, 320. 
*., II, 539. 


divine within him. This divine spark is reason, the breath of 
God in man. 7 The equation that to reason is to exercise one's 
divinity is the basic axiom underlying Einhorn's thinking. Reason 
is the sole organ of divine revelation 8 and the one essential 
attribute of the human spirit. "The human spirit is the son of 
God, and consequently the only mediator between God and 
man, the sole bearer of divine testimony. Christianity teaches: 
the word is become flesh. Judaism teaches: the word is become 
spirit." The revelation of this reasoning spirit is as divine and 
holy as the actual voice of God. 9 

Revelation through reason, however, does not impose itself 
from without. Man must constantly seek it. God is man's 
possession, unlike the unreasoning animal which belongs to 
God. x To seek God, then, is to deepen one's spiritual, rational 
powers and to apply them to life. 

Under the impact of this thought, all belief in the immu- 
tability of external revelation must give way. Particularly the 
Ceremonial Law is subject to rational investigation. Einhorn 
finds a spiritual predecessor in Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai, who 
taught that "one should investigate the foundation of the Divine 
Law" (Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 68b). In his opinion, this 
view "shook the very foundation of the Orthodox system. Once 
we give to reason the right to inquire after the foundation of 
the Divine Law we deny, from the outset, the basic principle 
that the Law, by virtue of its divine origin, possesses an absolute 
worth. Those divine ordinances which do not find their justifica- 
tion in themselves have, therefore, only a relative worth." x * 

? Ibid., II, 401. 

ibid., n, 401. 

9 Ibid., II, 410. 

**Ilrid. 9 II, 510-11. 

* J Ibid*) I, 369; see also II, 474. 



The Moral Law alone has absolute worth and is unchangeable. 
It has been constant since the beginning of time even though we 
find that the Bible seems to condone its transgression by men 
like Abraham and Jacob. The Bible's apparent moral permis- 
siveness is, however, to be understood in its proper perspective. 
Taking the unethical practices of polygamy and slavery as 
examples, Einhorn explains that their ethical counterparts 
already existed in Abraham's time. If Abraham transgressed 
the Moral Law, it was not because he lacked character, but 
because he lacked sufficient insight into ethical reality. The 
point is that, while the Moral Law is eternal, man's awareness 
of it grows. Such awareness appears as change. The change, 
however, is not in the Moral Law, but in man. r 2 


The same principle is made to apply to the Ceremonial Law as 
well. Einhorn points to biblical evidence for change in the 
Ceremonial Law. These changes, however, do not reflect a 
change in the Law itself, but a change in man's ceremonial 
needs. 13 Man's moral needs, on the other hand, remain un- 
changing in character. 

It is this difference that gives rise to the distinction between 
the "essence" and the "form" of Judaism. Its essence consists 
of its eternal ethical truths and the Moral Law based upon them. 
The form of Judaism is its Ceremonial Law, the binding char- 
acter of which Einhorn emphatically denies. 14 At the same 
time, however, Einhorn does not deny the possibility that the 
Ceremonial Law, too, is of divine origin. Differing with Isaac 

" Ibid., II, 575-76. 
'* Ibid., II, 575-76. 
X 4 JWrf., VII, 320-21. 



M. Wise, who held that all laws of the Bible, including the 
sacrificial laws, which are bound by historical time and need, 
are not the word of God, Einhorn holds that even the sacrificial 
cult "with its wealth of ideas 53 was carried by the divine spirit. J 5 
"It is quite possible to believe in the divine origin of the Cer- 
emonial Law, and yet, at the same time, be convinced that as 
God had ordained this law for the education of a certain people, 
so he ordained it also for a certain time and locale." l6 

If one looks upon divine revelation as an external act, any 
breach of its law, Ceremonial or Moral, from the side of man, 
must be considered a sin. If, however, the rational human spirit 
is the sole agent of divine revelation, then that spirit is also in a 
position to justify by reason changes in the divinely revealed 
law. At the same time, the difference between the Ethical and 
the Ceremonial Law is to be found in the fact that "the Ethical 
Law contains its rational justification within itself; while in the 
case of the Ceremonial Law this justification is to be found 
entirely outside of the law itself." 17 Einhorn considers both 
the Ceremonial and the Moral Law of divine origin, but only the 
former as subject to change by reasoning man. 

In the end, it is man's relative maturity which determines 
first, his awareness of the Moral Law, and second, his need for 
religious ceremony. As man's maturity that is, his rational 
capacity increases, one notes a growth in ethical insight and 
a corresponding decline in ceremonial need. Einhorn certainly 
was convinced that morality was on the march and that man's 
ethical conscience was nearing perfection. This perfection would 
then obviate all ceremonial needs and herald the arrival of 
messianic times, when Judaism, having fulfilled its ethical, 

x * Ibid. 9 IV, 284-85, and note. 
' ZM*, HI, 79^-97. 


humanizing mission, would lose its historical character and 
become "the common possession of all peoples." l8 


The significance that Einhorn attached to the Sabbath, the 
observance of which he strongly advocated, 19 is closely linked 
to the Moral Law and its superiority over the Ceremonial Law, 
Einhorn noted that while the Bible ordained the commemoration 
of the events leading up to the creation of the Priest-People at 
Passover, it failed to command the remembrance of the giving 
of the Law, although this event stands supreme among the 
experiences of Israel. The reason for this is that, unlike the 
exodus from Egypt, the origin of the Divine Law predates 
history and therefore cannot be commemorated as a historical 
event. 20 The giving of the Moral Law did not "happen"; it 
existed, in all its eternal and universally binding character, 
from creation. This would not have been so had God created 
the world in a state less than perfect. The meaning of the 
Sabbath, therefore, goes far beyond the fact that on that day 
God rested from His labors. It was not meant merely to prove 
God's creation of the world, but to attest to the "consummation 
and perfection of the divine handiwork." God ceased creating 
because He had finished His task to His own complete satisfac- 
tion, fulfilling all the needs of His Universal Kingdom. 21 

Since the Sabbath attests to the perfection of God's creative 
endeavors at the beginning of time, it must necessarily involve a 
denial of qualitative differences between man and nations. If all 
men are created in the image of God, they are created on the 

' Ibid., IV, 137. 

, IV, 289-91. 

id., 11,540. 


same moral plane. Thus, as far as Judaism is concerned, the 
Sabbath "does not only involve a testimony to man's dignity 
as the highest attainment of creation, but also a definite protest 
against the absolute (divine) preference for Israel over the 
other nations." 22 Israel never represented a higher type of 
human being than any other peoples. 23 True, Israel was the 
first to discover God's Law. However, anyone who claims that 
because of this discovery Israel has a monopoly on religious 
truth might as well insist that the brightness of the planet belongs 
exclusively to the astronomer who first saw it. 24 God's Law 
belongs to all men even though it was discovered by Israel. 

From this Einhorn concludes that the importance of the 
Sabbath exceeds the specific limits of the Jewish people. In fact, 
by virtue of its universal implications the Sabbath was meant 
to be a guardian against the ossification of the particularistic 
elements in Judaism which find expression in the formal Cer- 
emonial Law. Thus the observance of the Sabbath is designed 
to preserve the Moral Law of mankind against the corroding 
influences of Jewish particularism which only serves as a tem- 
porary vehicle by which God's original revelation to mankind 
will eventually be fulfilled. 2S 


Israel is the Priest-People, whose mission in the world is to 
"lead all rational beings to the same level of holiness." 2 6 Its 
purpose is to re-create the condition of original perfection with 

" Ibid., II, 540-41. 

3 ibid., II, 540-41. 

*4 Ibid., VII, 325. 
2 * Ibid., II, 540-41. 
* Ibid., VII, 325. 



which the universe and mankind were created. Israel's calling 
may require certain "exclusive religious signs, but its eternal 
truths and moral laws . . . shall and will become the common 
possession of all peoples." 2 7 Using a talmudic tradition as his 
inspiration, Einhorn instituted a thanksgiving celebration on 
the ninth day of the Jewish month of Ab (the traditional date 
of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, observed as a 
day of fasting by Orthodox Jewry) to commemorate the day on 
which Israel was sent among the nations as the bearer of 
God's word. The day marked for him the birthday of the 
Messiah, the beginning of Israel's mission to the peoples of 
the world. 28 

In order that Judaism might run its destined course to human 
perfection, nothing that stood in the way of this development 
could be tolerated. The moral ascendancy of man could not be 
hindered by a rigid and particularistic ceremonial drag which 
slowed down, and even prevented, ethical growth. As far as 
Einhorn was concerned, the greatest obstacle in the way of 
the moral progress of Judaism was the Talmud. 

Not that the Talmud played a minor role in the historical 
development of Judaism. On the contrary, "no one will nor can 
deny that the Talmud forms one of the high points in the 
development of Judaism; that it led Judaism through the most 
fateful years of its history; and that in many respects it has 
enriched it. Indeed, one must ascribe to the Talmud this great 
merit: that it broke through the inflexibility of the biblical 
letter, and that unconsciously it reformed the Mosaic Law in 
accordance with the spiritual and practical needs of the times." * 9 
The objectionable character of the Talmud derives from its 

*ilbid., VII, 325. 
**Ibid., VI, 240. 
**Ibid. 3 I, i. 



clear intent to tie Jewish religion to Jewish national life and 
peoplehood. Einhorn felt that any effort to invoke talmudic 
authority in Jewish life was clearly an attempt to impose upon 
Judaism a particularism which was foreign to its essential nature. 
In the Mosaic tradition the Jewish people was merely "an 
example of fulfilled and redeemed humanity." Jewish partic- 
ularism was "no more than a lever of an unbounded univer- 
salism." 30 "Spiritually the Mosaic Law stands sublimely above 
all national limitations. But it was in need of Jewish nationhood 
as an educational device for its world-embracing ideas." 31 
"Jewish religion was only temporarily dressed in Jewish na- 
tionality. In reality it was ordained to step from behind these 
restricting barriers so as gradually to become the world religion. 
Thus, if according to the talmudic viewpoint, it was a major 
concern to erect fences between Israel and the nations, then, 
according to Reform it is an essential life task to tear these 
down." 32 

Furthermore, to suggest that the Talmud should govern formal 
Jewish life was proof that the modern advocates of such a course 
of action misunderstood the nature of the Talmud itself. Einhorn 
saw in the Oral Law, as embodied in the Talmud, proof for his 
belief that Judaism had always made formal allowances for the 
diminishing ceremonial needs of man. "Side by side with the 
eternal and unchangeable Divine (Moral) Law, there exists a 
changeable and fluid element. This element is the naked reli- 
gious form which is motivated by the eternal, living, driving 
force the changeless spirit of the Law." This changeless, 
divine spirit has as its task "the freeing of the religious form 
from the chains of immutability." Thus, the eternal Divine Law 

^ Ibid., I, 293. 

* Z /*&,II,4XI. 
bid. 9 IV, 166. 



is in reality the inspiration behind formal religious change. 33 
To assign to the Oral Law, and with it to the Talmud, the 
element of immutability is, therefore, to interfere with the 
essential departicularizing and humanizing tendency in Judaism. 
Only through the eventual elimination of all particularistic 
attributes can Israel's divine mission to the world be accom- 
plished, so that, in the end, the Priest-People, having fulfilled 
its task, can retire from the scene and "blend with the nations 
among whom it lived in dispersion." 34 

Einhorn's view of Judaism may be described as a social 
gospel, the main feature of which is an unqualified attempt to 
equate the progress of Judaism with the progress of humanity 
towards its universalistic, humanistic goal. Once this goal is 
achieved, Judaism as a particular faith will disappear, and so, 
presumably, will all other group identities. Judaism, however, 
can hasten this end by living the essentially Jewish life, that is, 
the life of the eternal Moral Law which is its heart and soul. 
All rituals, ceremonials, and nationalistic accouterments of 
Judaism are merely educational devices designed at various 
moments in history as means of conveying the essence of the 
eternal and perfect Moral Law to a maturing but as yet spir- 
itually imperfect Jewish people. These educational devices, 
having been handed down from ancient times, must be elim- 
inated as they come to be of increasing spiritual uselessness to a 
developing Jewish religion. In that way, Judaism becomes an 
ever-present example of a morally self-perfecting humanity. 
Consequently, any attempt to perpetuate the old expressions of 
Jewish particularism in a modern world striving toward an 
all-embracing humanism runs counter to the essential meaning 
and raison fttn of Judaism. 

33 ibid., I, 2. 
3 4 ibid., IV, 137. 


Isaac Mayer Wise's "Jesus Himself 55 


ISAAC MAYER WISE, the founder of the Hebrew 
Union College, is quoted only rarely in the scholarly books 
which deal with the question of Christian origins. The occasional 
quotations are almost exclusively from a rather long book, 
published by Wise in 1868 and called The Origins of Christianity 
and a Commentary to the Acts of the Apostles. In Gosta Lindeskog's 
Die Jesusfrage im neuzeitlichen Judentum (Uppsala, 1938), this 
largest of Wise's writings passes unlisted, although three minor 
items of Wise are mentioned. While Lindeskog paraphrases 
many of the Jewish writers on Jesus, he limits his treatment of 
Wise to the mere listing of the titles. 

In addition to The Origins, Isaac Mayer Wise penned other 
works relating to Christianity. The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth: 
a Historic-Critical Treatise on the Last Chapters of the Gospel appeared 
in 1874. Two works appeared in 1883 Three Lectures on the 
Origin of Christianity and Judaism and Christianity y Their Agreements 
and Disagreements. A fourth appeared in 1889 A Defense of 
Judaism versus Proselytizing Christianity. To my mind, however, 
the most interesting and noteworthy of his writings relating to 
Christianity never appeared in book form. It is a series of 
chapters entitled "Jesus Himself." The first of these chapters 
appeared in Wise's weekly newspaper, The Israelite, on July 9, 

Dr. Samuel Sandmel, Provost of the Hebrew Union College - Je\vish Institute of 
Religion, is also Professor of Bible and Hellenistic Literature at the Cincinnati 



1869. The tenth chapter, which appeared on April i, 1870, 
carries at its end the legend: "To be continued." 

It was never continued. That the work was never finished is 
likely the reason why "Jesus Himself 3 never appeared in book 

Equally as interesting as "Jesus Himself' is a series of chapters, 
translated from the German by Wise and published in The 
Israelite. Written by Gustav Adolf Wislicenus, this work has a 
title which in English would be The Bible Considered for Thinking 
Readers. The Old Testament part appeared in 1863; the New 
Testament section, in the following year. There seems to be a 
dearth of information on Wislicenus, for he was a man of no 
great importance. We know, however, that he was born in 
Germany in 1805 and that he studied for the ministry. He 
participated in some revolutionary movements, for which he was 
jailed (possibly around 1848). Thereafter, he fled to America, 
but later returned to Europe and settled in Switzerland. 

Wislicenus was a popularizer of the scholarship of his time, 
especially of the iconoclastic and shocking variety. His preface 
tells us: 

Though earlier the Bible was considered exceptional compared with 
other books, it is now aligned with others as something which appeared 
in history, as an attestation of the human spirit, and as an organ in 
the development of the species. Great and wondrous toil has been 
brought to bear in the field of Bible study, so that now a clear light 
has been shed over it, despite efforts to becloud clear sight and to 
revert to earlier presentations. 

The portion of Wislicenus which Wise translated and pub- 
lished in his newspaper was only a segment of the New Testament 
section, that dealing with the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul. 
Wise did not translate, or at least did not publish, the Old 
Testament portion. I doubt that this was an accident, for 
although Wislicenus was quite as radical in his approach to the 
Old as to the New, Wise was not similarly inclined. 


In his survey of the life and teachings of Jesus, Wislicenus 
expresses doubts about the reliability of the supposition that 
everything which the Gospels attribute to Jesus is really from 
him or about him. Indeed, Wislicenus is a fairly good reflection 
of the skepticism which in radical form was expressed by David 
Friedrich Strauss and in a more moderate I cannot withhold 
the modern word: schmaltzy way by Ernest Renan. 

Wise not only translates Wislicenus, but also annotates him. 
The author and his annotator, however, are separated by a 
notable gap: while in a good many places Wislicenus doubts 
that such and such a statement was really made by Jesus, Wise 
goes beyond him to doubt that Jesus ever lived. (See The 
Israelite, July 7, 1865, p. 428.) Again, for example, Wislicenus 
makes the statement that the four Gospels were "written in 
Greek, because Christianity, although originating among the 
Hebrews, soon stepped beyond those limits, and Greek was 
then the universal language of the East." To this Wise comments 
in a footnote: "It is by no means certain that Christianity 
originated among the Hebrews. Its Alexandrian origin has been 
maintained by many. See Diegeses [sic] by R. Taylor, p. 136." 

Who was Taylor, and what was this business of Alexandrian 
origin? Robert Taylor (i 784-1844) was a former Anglican priest 
who, after a checkered career, embraced Deism and wrote a 
number of books attacking Christianity from the Deist point of 
view. Diegesis, A Discovery of the Origin of Christianity, was pub- 
lished in Boston in 1832. Since I have not been able to procure a 
copy of the book, I can judge its tone only on the basis of the 
illuminating chapter on the Deists 5 attitude to problems of the 
New Testament which F. C. Conybeare summarizes in Chapter 
Three of his History of New Testament Criticism (1910). * On the 

1 Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, ignores the Deists in general, 
and the British Deists in particular. See Maurice Goguel, Jesus the Nazarene, Myth 
or History > English translation (1926), p. 2, note 4. 



negative side, the Deists either emphasized the discrepancies or 
what seemed to them incredibilities in the text; on the other 
hand, they offered explanations supposedly more reasonable 
and cogent. It is to be presumed for the matter is scarcely 
important enough to justify research that among the explana- 
tions offered about the "real" origins was the theory that 
Christianity really emerged somewhere in the Greek world. 
What place was better for this suppositions origin than 
Alexandria? In a Deistic-like book, Christian Theology and Modern 
Skepticism (1872), the Duke of Somerset writes (p. 70): 

Some ingenious writers have endeavored to trace the source of Chris- 
tianity to the schools and synagogues of Alexandria. They would even 
interpret the prophecy, "Out of Egypt have I called my son (Mt. 
2.15)5" in a mystic sense. 

The Deistic explanations of various and sundry items in the 
New Testament exhibit what I would call a notable lack of 
self-criticism and restraint. Indeed, just as the pious imagination 
of the faithful managed to expand the sense of the passage in 
Matthew into a stipulation of how long Jesus sojourned in 
Egypt, and exactly where, so the imagination of the skeptical 
opponents soared far above texts and above sobriety. We shall 
come to see, I believe, that Wise himself absorbed from the 
Deists both their attitude and their manner. 

We must conclude, therefore, that the Deists did not offer 
their theories in any direct and vivid relationship to the text 
or its meaning. Or, to put the matter in a way which risks the 
charge of condescension, the Deists were dabblers. The source of 
the Alexandrian emphasis is probably August Friedrich Gfroerer 
(1803-1861), a responsible scholar who could scarcely foresee 
how the irresponsible would abuse his erudition. A long series 
of books under the general title Geschichte des Urchristentums 
appeared from 1831 to 1838. The first part, in two volumes, 



was on Philo (20 B. C.-4O A. D.) and Alexandrian theosophy. 
Gfroerer believed that Alexandrian theosophy was very old 
and that it came to be transplanted in Palestine. That Gfroerer 
was not on solid ground is not to be taken as indicative of 
limited or poor scholarship, but rather as the consequence of 
his having created and defended an idiosyncratic theory. 

It chances that another German, Bruno Bauer, a vicious 
anti-Semite, also came to a judgment about Alexandria and its 
significance in Christian origins. To Bauer, a thoroughly trained 
and competent scholar, Schweitzer devotes chapter XI of The 
Quest of the Historical Jesus. Bauer began as a skeptical critic, 
but he had no great doubts initially as to the historicity of 
Jesus; later, in a two-volume work published in 1850-1851, he 
arrived at the conclusion that Jesus had never lived. Not until 
1874 did Bauer publish a succinct account of his view. This he 
set forth in a little book I found it caustic and entertaining 
which he called Philo, Strauss, Renan und das Urchristentum. Bauer 
contended that the efforts of Jesus* two "biographers" to separate 
the legendary and mythical from actual history were misguided. 
They had supposed that the Gospels exhibited the growth of a 
man through legend into divinity. To the contrary, Bauer held 
that Jesus was the result of making into a human being certain 
metaphysical concepts which are found in the writings of 

As noted above, Bauer and Gfroerer were, in every technical 
sense of the word, thoroughgoing scholars. The Deists were 
rather dilettantes. I have found in Wise no indication of his 
having read Bauer. I rather imagine that he obtained his ma- 
terial from such people as Robert Taylor. 

One observes that, in summoning the support of Taylor to 
refute Wislicenus, Wise was smiting a broken reed with an 
equally broken reed. One wonders if he was as critical in his 
reading of Taylor as he was in his examination of Wislicenus. 



We do not know. What we can be sure about is that in 1865 
Wise was confident that there had never been a Jesus. 2 

Four years later Wise began the task of writing a biography 
of Jesus. I do not know what brought about the change of heart. 
Perhaps it was due to his reading Abraham Geiger. This great 
German Jewish scholar had published a book of lectures in 
1864; the book was translated into English as Judaism and its 
History (New York, 1866). Three of the lectures (IX-XI) were 
on Christianity. Geiger contended that Jesus "was a Jew, a 
Pharisean Jew with Galilean coloring." Perhaps this affirmation 

a Wise's skepticism at that time (1865) extended to the question of "Jewish- 
Christianity" : "If the cradle of Christianity was in Alexandria, the Jewish-Christians 
were proselytes of a later date" (The Israelite, XII [July 7, 1865], p. 12). Commenting 
in the same issue on Wislicenus' discussion of the genealogy of Jesus, Wise says: 

It is strange that after the admission that we know of Jesus only what we 
learn from the Gospels, which are as good as no source, the author should 
maintain to know anything sure regarding Jesus. Nothing is sure, not even 
that he existed. Jesus might have been a dramatical fiction, invented for 
religious mysteries. 

Where Wislicenus denies that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, declaring that 
"it was historically known and could not be denied that Jesus was from Nazareth," 
Wise comments: "Nothing could be historically known concerning Jesus, as nothing 
is historically known about him today" (ibid. 9 August 4, 1865, p. 36). 

Wise was prepared at that time to extend his skepticism to the point of denying 
that John the Baptist had ever lived. Wise, discussing the baptism of Jesus, comments 
on the mention of John in Josephus: 

It (the baptism) might be a historical fact, if the following doubts did not 
exist, ist. Did Jesus exist, or is he a dramatical fiction, invented for religious 
mysteries of days long before Paul? 2nd. Did John exist? The passages re- 
garding him in Josephus are spurious. If John and Jesus were real per- 
sonages . . . then there is no evidence of their having had any acquaintance 
with each other, outside of the New Testament, and this can not be used as a 
historical source at all (ibid. 9 August n, 1865, p. 45). 

As to the words which the Gospels attribute to Jesus, Wise says: 

There is not the slightest evidence in record that he existed, much less that he 
made a speech. Nothing is more common to ancient chronographers than to 
invent speeches for their favorite heroes and put them conveniently in their 
mouths (ibid., October 27, 1865. See items in a similar vein in the issues of 
November 3rd, 1 7th, and 24th of the same year). 



by a great Jewish scholar, following as it did the affirmation 
(1856) by Heinrich Graetz, exercised some influence on Wise. 
Yet my reading of Wise keeps persuading me of the relative 
independence of his mind, both where independence was a 
virtue and where it was not necessarily so. 

If it was not the reading of Geiger which changed Wise's 
mind, then I confess to not knowing what it was. 

It is reckless to make too great an inference from a small 
matter. In 1866, Wise commented on Wislicenus 5 account of 
Jesus' activities in Jerusalem. Wislicenus had remarked that the 
"cursing of the fig-tree" (Mark 11:12-14) is the sole miracle 
attributed to the Jerusalem period. Concerning this Wise 
comments: "It is not at all wonderful that Jesus wrought no 
miracles in Jerusalem ... it is only remarkable that the evan- 
gelists invented none for him" (The Israelite, March 12, 1866, 
p. 293). It is to be noted that here we no longer deal with an 
outright denial of the existence of Jesus, but with the beginning 
of the separation in Wise's mind of Jesus from those who wrote 
about him. Here the dichotomy is only hinted at; three years 
later the distinction blossomed. We move from denial in 1865, 
to a grudging and vague acceptance of historicity in 1866, to an 
effort at biography in 1869. 

Though I cannot explain what made Wise change his mind, 
to speculate about it is harmless. Indeed, from something which 
Wise says in his very first chapter, I suspect that Wise, on mulling 
over Wislicenus and others, noted what so many modern Jews 
have been quick to see: that items in the Gospels impinge on 
materials found in the rabbis, and what is rare, or rather, was 
rare, is that this impingement was either not noticed or else 
not handled with accuracy and authority. Wise wrote: 

Besides Lightfoot's and Isidor Kalisch's fragmentary essays, no book 
or essay in the English language has become known to us, which 
treats on the Ancient Rabbinical Literature in connection with, and 



in comparison to, the New Testament, to illustrate the circumstances 
which must be fully understood, in order to form a correct conception 
of the person, events, and lessons described by the authors of that 

Wise undoubtedly thought that through the use of rabbinic 
literature he could do a much better job than his predecessors 
had done. It is my conjecture that through his sense of com- 
petency in rabbinics he became confident of his ability to surpass 
these others. This newly found understanding, I believe, led 
him out of his skepticism about Jesus and into an avowal that 
Jesus had really lived. 

Isidor Kalisch, referred to above, was born in Krotoschin in 
1816; he came to the United States in 1849, anc * died in Newark 
in 1 886. So numerous are his essays unhappily, never gathered 
into a book, but scattered throughout The Israelite, The Occident, 
and the London Jewish Chronicle that I have not been able to 
determine exactly which essay Wise had in mind. As to Light- 
foot, there is this quandary. There was a British bishop, Joseph 
Barber Lightfoot, who was born in 1828 and who was a great 
New Testament scholar. Wise might possibly be referring to 
him, but I think that this is unlikely, for his literary activity 
seems to have begun just about the time that Wise himself was 

What is more reasonable is to understand the reference as 
being to John Lightfoot (1602-1675), who became quite a 
notable Talmudist. His Home Hebraicae et Talmudicae, composed 
in Latin between 1658 and 1674, gave Talmudic parallels to 
much (though not all) of the New Testament. The Horae was 
published in an English translation in 1859. Lightfoot wrote a 
good many essays, one edition of which was published in 1822- 
1825. Jt is likely, then, that it is John Lightfoot whom Wise 
means; but I am unable to say which is the particular essay to 
which he refers. 



In his first chapter. Wise outlines for his readers what his 
procedure will be: 

The authors of the New Testament maintain that they have described 
the words and actions of Jesus. Their books must be considered the 
primary source to this work. This standpoint suggests a number of 
inquiries. By what means did those authors obtain possession of the 
matter they communicate? Were they eye-witnesses of the events 
which they describe; did they borrow them from written records, or 
from traditions; or, did they invent them? Were they able to write 
the full truth, and was it their intention to do so, or merely to write 
in defense of preconceived doctrines? Which is fact and which embel- 
lishment? Have we the means of distinguishing the fact from the 
embellishment? Are we, at this distance of time, able to understand 
those authors correctly? Can we tell with certainty when, where, by 
whom, and in what language those books were written? 

Wise proceeds to discuss the Jewish backgrounds, making the 
usual mention of the Essenes (Wise takes his stand with others 
who believe that the word is corrupted from the word Hasidim), 
the Sadducees (the aristocrats), and the Pharisees (the democrats) . 

As to the Gospels themselves (which Wise discusses in The 
Israelite of July 23, 1869), Wise makes a number of statements 
which are both interesting and also regrettably less than com- 
pletely clear. One of his first is a tiny misstatement of no great 
significance, except possibly to alert us to the frequency with 
which unimportant misstatements appear in these chapters. The 
four Gospels, he says, are called canonical, "in contradistinction 
of the Apocryphal Gospels which were rejected by the Council 
of Nice 3 (325 A. C.) as fraudulent productions." He goes on to 
explain what is meant by the italicized words "according to" 
in such titles as the Gospel according to Mark or according to Luke: 
the names are not the names of the authors of the Gospels, but 
these men "taught Christianity to these respective congregations 

3 Sec Caspar Ren6 Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, p. 262: "The 
Council of Nice in 325 does not appear to have determined anything about 



out of which the ultimate authors of the written Gospels arose. 9 * 
This explanation is quite ingenious; thus far I have not met 
it anywhere else. It is the reverse of a frequent and familiar 
explanation of the phenomenon. Most scholars who see growth 
in the process of Gospel formation would regard "Matthew" 
or "Luke" as the final step in the procedure by which oral 
materials or rudimentary written sources become transmuted 
into Gospels; with Wise, however, "Matthew" and "Luke" 
supply the original impetus, and only thereafter does a Gospel 
ultimately achieve its present form. 

Wise was certain that none of the Gospels in existence today 
"existed in the first century" (The Israelite, XVI, July 23, 1869, 
p. 9). While most scholars of today would undoubtedly differ 
with Wise, he was in his own time not too far removed from the 
dates which some Protestant scholars were assigning to the 
Gospels. 4 

That the Gospels were relatively late literary products meant 
to him that their reliability was thereby impugned; "Their 
statements rest upon no known authority. Nobody can tell who 
made those statements, when or where they were made. There- 
fore nobody can reasonably vouch for the veracity of those 
authors . . ." (ibid.). 

Yet the nature of the content of the Gospels prompts Wise 
to make a distinction which for him (and for our understanding 
of him) is of great significance. 

The pages . . . are adorned with accounts of miracles, exorcism, 
thaumaturgy, the words and deeds of angels, demons and Satan 
himself. ... In vain are all the attempts of rationalistic expounders to 
allegorize, or explain away otherwise, the extraordinary performances 
and preternatural phenomena. . . . Those superstitions weaken the 
authority of the Gospels. . . . There is no connection between the 
doctrine or fact and the miracle wrought to prove the former. The 

4 See the convenient table in James Mofiatt, An Introduction to the Literature of 
the New Testament, p. 213. 



written miracle is perfectly useless. We have before us a doctrine and a 
miracle. If the understanding declared the doctrine true, the miracle 
is superfluous, as the doctrine can be no better or more true. If the 
understanding doubts, the miracle can not improve the case. For we 
must first believe the miracle on the authority of the witness or of 
the writer, which has no affinity with the understanding, in order to 
believe also the doctrine which anyhow must offer some affinity with 
the understanding. . . . Doctrines surpassing the universal understand- 
ing of man are absurdities which no miracle can change into legitimate 
propositions. . . . All the miracles can not improve a fact, or make it 
one, if it is not . . . (ibid., July 23, 1869). 

The distinction which Wise draws is that only that material 
in the Gospels which is totally devoid of the miraculous is 
worthy of being regarded as historically reliable. The initial 
test for historical reliability, then, will be the "naturalistic" 
content of the Gospels. One by-product was Wise's ability, 
after this decision, to bypass almost all the chapters in the 
Gospels which deal with the career of Jesus prior to his entry 
into Jerusalem. 

But even before he can proceed to matters of substance, Wise 
has more words of introduction. Not only do the Gospels 
contain the "preternatural," but as literary documents their 
relationships with each other need to be defined, for they cover 
the same material about Jesus, often with divergencies, but 
often, too, with similarities and near-identities. While by Wise's 
time the so-called "two-source theory" (that Luke and Matthew 
independently used as sources Mark and a body of "teachings" 
known as Q,, Quelle, "source") had been articulated and was 
on the way to becoming a cornerstone of Gospel study, Wise 
cites no scholars as authority, but instead offers his own 

Mark may have seen Matthew's book, or vice versa. Luke must have 
seen Matthew's and Mark's Gospels, and John knew the three Synoptic 
Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Nevertheless they disregarded 
and contradicted one another, not only in the particulars of the story, 



but also in the speeches and the parables ascribed to Jesus. . . . The 
evangelists did not consider one another reliable authorities, and 
each of them took the liberty to change, amend, omit, and add. . . 
(ibid., July 30, 1869), 

This statement addresses itself, of course, to the divergencies 
in the Gospels. But Wise was equally under obligation to account 
for the similarities: 

They could not have copied from one another the passages which 
they have, literally alike, unless they were in possession of a fixed 
standard, by which they judged that certain passages were genuine, 
and others were not. This consideration naturally leads to the hypoth- 
esis, the passages, literally alike in the Gospels, must have been copies 
from an old work of this kind. 

Wise was neither the first nor the last to suppose that some 
primitive Gospel underlay the four which came to be canonical; 
scholarship today still deals, though passingly, with a by now 
old theory concerning an "Ur-Markus," a primitive version of 
Mark out of which the present Mark was composed. For my 
own understanding, I find the theory of an Ur-Markus an 
inescapable necessity; but I should not dream of supposing that 
this Ur-Markus was a standard to which all the evangelists 
adhered. Yet this is Wise's supposition, at least at this point in 
his writings; elsewhere he seems to me at times to hold related 
but slightly different views. 

Having supposed that there was at one time a primitive 
Gospel, Wise goes on to identify it for us. He finds it in a Gospel 
known in quotation from the Church Fathers as the Gospel of 
the Hebrews. Wise is aware, of course, that modern scholars 5 
consider the fragmentary Gospel of the Hebrews to have been 
derived from the canonical Gospels, especially from Matthew; 
yet Wise believes, to the contrary, that the true source of the 

s See Adam Fyfe Findlay, "Jewish Christian Gospels,* 9 in his Byways in Early 
Christian Literature, pp. 33-78. 



acknowledgedly spurious Gospel of the Hebrews was an earlier 
Gospel. Wise implies that others have considered a primitive 
Gospel in Hebrew or in Aramaic to be merely a hypothesis. 
"With us, this is no hypothesis. We can produce positive evidence 
that a Gospel existed in the apostolic age, and that Gospel was 
either in Hebrew or in Aramaic." 

Wise's proof leads him through what he himself calls a "chain 
of rabbinic reasoning." He uses oft-cited passages in Tosefta 
Yadaim II, 5 (and in Shabbat n6a, restored from the excisions 
by medieval Christian censors) which state that certain "scrolls" 
(gilyonim) were not worthy of being rescued from a conflagration 
on the Sabbath. Two rabbis, Meir and Johanan, punned on 
the word gilyonim, yielding the equivalent of evangelyonim, that is, 
Gospels. A huge literature exists on these passages. 

Wise has an ingenious, although improbable, interpretation 
of his own to add to the rabbinic passages. He is not content 
for them to be second-century statements alluding to a Hebrew 
or Aramaic Gospel, but he finds some need (which eludes me) 
to derive the word evangelion from the Hebrew root GLH, "to 
reveal," rather than, as gilyon would be derived, from the root 
meaning "to roll" (as in a scroll). The Greek, of course, is a 
compound of eu and angelion, "good" and "tiding." But were 
Wise to have conceded that the rabbinic pun rested on a Greek 
word, his case for a primitive Gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic 
would have been weakened, or even shattered. By means of 
the Hebraic etymology, Wise was able to persuade himself that 
Jewish Christians had a Hebrew or Aramaic sacred book, for 
"the primitive Christians . . . when still included in the commu- 
nity of Israel, had sacred books which they considered equally 
holy with the Bible. Those books must have been Hebrew or 
Aramaic, as translations of the Bible itself were not included in 
the Sabbath statute." 

But Wise has not yet finished his proof. In this additional 



item, he goes lamentably astray. The Palestinian Talmud records 
that one Ben Stada brought necromancy from Egypt (and now 
note the key words) "in this same kind of writing." The context 
of this passage in the Talmud did not excite Wise's attention; 
it is likely that he knew it from memory and desisted from 
checking on it. Let us suppose, for a moment, that the Talmud 
does relate that one Ben Stada brought some kind of writing 
from Egypt. It is a hoary matter that Ben Stada and Jesus were 
identified with each other in Jewish tradition. 6 At first glance, 
following Wise, it would appear that Ben-Stada-Jesus brought 
some kind of writing from Egypt, and this would give us an 
Alexandrian origin. The fact is, however, that in its own context 
in the Talmud the kind of writing under discussion does not 
refer to the scroll form, or the papyrus form, but to writing on 
one's own skin! The correct rendering of the passage would 
omit the words "in this same kind of writing," and read instead: 
"Did not Ben Stada bring necromancy out of Egypt in the same 
kind of way [on his own skin]?" 

As noted above, Wise went astray as an autodidact often 
goes astray, through lack of some measure of self-restraint. I 
have reproduced this item, not out of the wish to disparage a 
man whom I truly admire and whose memory I truly reverence* 
but only out of honesty and out of the conviction that the minor 
error is too petty to require forgiveness. Men, trained more 
rigorously than Wise ever had the opportunity to be, have in 
the last decade written things about the Dead Sea Scrolls 
infinitely more startling than this divagation of Wise's. 

Let us now return to Wise's main line of argument. One may 
cast aside the miraculous in the Gospels. But the Gospels, espe- 
cially the Synoptics (Mark, Matthew, and Luke), do have a 
large measure of agreement with each other, and this agreement. 

6 See Jacob Z. Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, pp. 514-30. 



Wise states, results from the common use of the original Aramaic 
or Hebrew Gospel. In such agreement in the Synoptic Gospels, 
Wise says, there are historically reliable elements. 7 

This preface over, Wise is now ready for the substance of his 
study. His first problem is the date of the birth of Jesus. Wise, 
like Protestant scholars, tries his hand at reconciling the material 
in Matthew, Luke, and Josephus. Stated briefly, Matthew 2:1 
offers the datum that Jesus was born in the time of Herod, who 
died in 4 B. C. Luke identifies the time of the birth with a census 
which is either now totally unknown, or is possibly to be iden- 
tified with a census, not the world-wide one of Luke, but one 
known to us from Josephus as a strictly local one which took 
place in 6 C. E. 8 Luke 3:23 relates that Jesus, at the height of 
his career, was thirty years old; John 8:57 seems to suggest that 
Jesus was then "nearly" fifty. According to Wise, one needs 
then to determine Jesus' age as between John and Luke, and the 
year of his birth as between Matthew (4 B. G.) and Luke 
(6 G. E.). Wise notes that some manuscripts of John read 
"nearly forty 33 and he adopts the latter reading as correct. 
(Modern scholars consider it a deliberate change so as to avoid 
the sharp conflict between Luke and John, for thirty and "nearly 
forty 3 ' are not quite so far apart as thirty and nearly fifty.) As 
to choosing between Matthew and Luke, for Wise this is easy. 

The infant stories of Matthew are manifest inventions. No critic will 
attempt to save them. The massacre of the babes at Bethlehem is an 

7 "John's Gospel <*?* hardly be counted in this direction. He is a dogmatic writer 
and no biographer. He shaped the biography of Jesus, and wrote speeches for 
him, to express John's dogma of Alexandrian Cfliristianity, as it originated [note 

here the change in Wise's viewpoint] in the second century We know of those 

corresponding passages, that they were copied and translated from a Hebrew or 
Aramaic work, which existed in the second half of the first century** (The Israelite, 
July 30, 1869). 

8 On this hoary problem, see Charles A. H. Guignebert, Jesus (English translation 
by S. H. Hooke), pp. 96-104. 



imitation of the passage in Exodus narrating the birth of Moses and 
the babes drowned in the Nile by command of Pharaoh. Also the 
astrologers and the star are taken from rabbinical legends on the birth 
of Moses. 9 Like Luke, so nobody now, outside of the church, believes 
Matthew's infant stories. ... In the following book we treat of the 
year 36, A. C., which is the year of the national career and death of 
Jesus of Nazareth (ibid., August 6, 1869). 

Wise moves promptly, as I have intimated above, from the 
establishment of this chronology of the birth of Jesus to the end 
of his career in Jerusalem. The Galilean period, the journey to 
Jerusalem, with all the various and sundry details, seem brushed 
aside, for they contain miracles, but the period in Jerusalem 
does not, and Wise without delay brings Jesus to the Holy City. 

Prior to recounting the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Wise 
presents a character analysis. The Herodians were wicked 

Persecution invariably contributes to the elevation of the victim. . , . 
The persecution of Herod attracted the masses to Jesus of Nazareth, 
the meek and unpretending teacher of a small circle of disciples from the 
humble and neglected class of society. The keen eye of public in- 
quisitiveness discovered the hiding places of Jesus upon the shores of 
the Sea of Galilee. . . . Friends and opponents congregated around 
him, to listen to his lessons, or to oppose his doctrines. . . . 

Resistance and success . . . developed in Jesus the desire to become 
the savior of his people, whose misery then must have touched the 
heart of every patriot. His name, Jesus, which signifies savior, un- 
doubtedly contributed to the birth of this idea in him, which the 
combination of circumstances ripened to solid resolution. 

A great design, once conceived rand embraced, changes the entire 
character of the man. . . . The same was the case with Jesus. Having 
resolved upon becoming the savior of his people, the simple enthusiast 
under the very eye of his disciples, as it were, was transformed into a 
being of higher powers. This is the sense of the transfiguration legend 
which is copied almost literally from Plato's Phaedon. z 

9 Wise here has a footnote: "See Rashi to Exodus 1:16." 

10 One needs to say that Wise's interpretation of the transfiguration, Mark 9:2-13, 
is as extreme an example of "rationalistic" interpretation as that which he himself 



In the account, as Wise rewrites it, there is a culprit but 
It is not Jesus. True, Jesus had the intention of becoming the 
savior of his people. But 

Peter suggested the idea, how to rouse and captivate popular enthu- 
siasm in favor of the master and his designs. The messianic mania 
had taken hold of the Hebrews, in a most deplorable manner. . . . 
Peter suggested the idea "Thou art Christ," the Messiah. Jesus, 
fully aware of the dangers connected with that position, was startled 
by the novel idea, and prohibited his disciples to publish it. But the 
word was spoken, the spark had fallen on combustibles. The mission 
of the master had assumed shape and form in that popular word. . . . 
Jesus expostulated with Peter, pointing out clearly the perilous condi- 
tion in which the Son of Man was placed. Peter attempted to overcome 
the master's apprehensions, and succeeded in obtaining the tacit 
consent of Jesus to this hazardous enterprise. Jesus never claimed 
the messianic dignity. His disciples, on the suggestion of Peter, claimed 
it for him (ibid., August 13, 1869, p. 9). 

It is worthwhile here to interrupt Wise's account in order to 
notice how close he came, in different though overlapping 
terms, to a somewhat related theory in Das Messiasgeheimnis in 
den Evangelien (1901), by William Wrede. Both Wise and Wrede 
notice the phenomenon in Mark that Jesus never makes a clear 
claim to Messiahship; for both, some secrecy seems to shroud it. 
Wrede explains the motif by asserting that the affirmation of 
Jesus' Messiahship arose only after the belief in the resurrection 
from death had gripped his followers, and that Jesus in his 
lifetime never claimed to be the Messiah. The German title of 
the book by Albert Schweitzer known as The Quest of the Historical 
Jesus is Von Reimarus zu Wrede the same Wrede. Since the turn 
of the century there has been under Wrede's influence a host of 
writings which echo the assertion that Jesus did not claim the 
Messiahship; many writers seem bent on protecting Jesus from 

had scorned. The dependency of the passage in Mark on the Phaedon is new to me; 
David Friedrich Strauss, Life of Jesus (English translation), pp. 545~46, note 19, 
finds a similarity in Plato's Symposium, 523 B ff., suggestive. 



the supposed arrogance implicit in such a Messianic claim. I 
might add that neither Wrede, with all his subsequent influence, 
nor Wise, with all his obscurity in this area, appears to me to 
have recognized what the Gospel of Mark is really saying, 
namely, that despite all the miracles which Jesus accomplished, 
his foes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, did not believe him, 
and his own followers did not understand him. 11 Mark, in 
short, is not stressing Jesus' silence, but rather the opaqueness 
of the disciples who see but do not understand Jesus 5 miracles. 

To move on, Wise notices that for the journey to Jerusalem 
from Galilee Mark and Matthew set a route that leads eastward 
across the Jordan, southward to Jericho, and then a recrossing 
of the Jordan and a westward trip to Jerusalem, while Luke has 
Jesus remain always west of the Jordan, thereby obligating 
Jesus, in his account, to pass through Samaria. The difference, 
Wise suggests, "is somewhat obscure." 

As to the entry into Jerusalem, Wise notices that Mark and 
Luke suggest that Jesus entered on one ass, while Matthew 
suggests two animals (for Matthew misunderstood the proof-text 
from Zechariah 9:9 which he quoted). Wise, however, gives 
his attention primarily to explaining why an ass was needed: 
without it 

the Messiah could not possibly have come to the satisfaction of the 
masses. . . . Popular superstition would have the Messiah to come 
riding on an ass, and Jesus had to submit to it. ... Although the story 
of the ass, as before us in the Synoptics, bears the stamp of fiction, 
nevertheless, from the concurrence of the Evangelists, it appears 
certain that Jesus was persuaded to enter Jerusalem riding on an ass, 
in order to comply with a popular superstition (ibid., August 13, 1869). 

As to the journey, the entry, and the reception of Jesus, it is 
irrelevant here to reproduce Wise's struggle with the Gospel 
accounts. We can turn directly to his summary: 

1 x I discuss this in my The Genius of Paul, published by Farrar, Straus & Gudahy 
(New York, 1958). 



The facts in the case appear to have been these: Jesus at Caesarea 
Philippi having consented to play the messianic role, he went with 
his disciples on by-ways, always evading the authority of Herod, down 
to the line [Wise means the boundary] of Judea, crossing and re- 
crossing the Jordan until he reached Jericho, from whence they 
traveled fast to reach Jerusalem unmolested. Here the brilliant feat 
was to be rapidly carried out, Jesus proclaimed the Messiah, to rouse 
the popular enthusiasm, the people thus won and amazed, to be relied 
upon in case of an interference by the government, and the whole 
affair to be accomplished by one brilliant and rapid movement .... 

That Jesus found many and ardent friends and admirers among the 
multitudes in Jerusalem, can hardly be doubted. But they were not 
as numerous nor as enthusiastic as the disciples expected from the 
messianic appeal to the masses. Little regard was paid to the Messiah, 
although considerable attention was bestowed on the words and 
lessons of Jesus, who had laid aside altogether the messianic character, 
and appeared as the young sage of Nazareth, expounding his scheme 
of salvation. This gained him friends and admirers, while the messianic 
pretensions of his disciples made him ridiculous with the learned, 
obnoxious to the Roman authorities, and drove thousands of peaceable 
citizens from him; because they knew from sad experience that almost 
any pretext sufficed Pilate for massacre and pillage. So Jesus, who 
had been a persecuted fugitive in Galilee, entered now upon his 
national career under the worst auspices. He stood upon a threatening 
volcano, and he knew it well (ibid., August 20, 1869). 

The incident of the "cleansing of the Temple" provides Wise 
with an opportunity to distinguish between a historical item 
and a legend. The texts of the Synoptics (Mark 11:17; Matthew 
21:13; and Luke 19:46) accompany the cleansing with a quota- 
tion by Jesus from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11, "My house 
shall be called a house of prayer for all people but you have 
made it a den of robbers." The "turning over the tables of the 
money changers," Wise asserts, is not historical, but rather the 
application to Jesus of a biblical passage, such application of 
Scripture being frequent in the Gospels. The verse in question 
is the very last verse in Zechariah which, translated variously 
(for one word in it means both Canaanite and also trader), 
runs as follows: "There will be no trader [Canaanite] in the 



house of the Lord of Hosts on that day." The cleansing, derived 
as it is from a biblical passage, is pure legend in Wise's eyes. 

But the citation from Isaiah is, according to Wise, "a mem- 
orandum of the first part of the speech which Jesus made in 
Jerusalem, a memorandum written exactly in the style of that 
age O'pnD wi." " 

Wise believes that this speech of Jesus was a full and un- 
relenting attack on the system of priests with their sacrifices. 
He would have Jesus emphasize that it is prayer which the 
Temple should foster, not sacrifice. 

With Jesus striking at the very root of their existence, the chief priests 
must naturally have felt alarmed. The larger the number of his 
admirers was, the more cause of apprehension existed. The brief 
memorandum of that speech gave rise to the unskillful expulsion 
story which is incompatible to the general character and behavior of 
Jesus, and bears in itself characteristics of improbability (ibid., August 
27, 1869, p. 9). 

Wise then proceeds to give a full account of the priestly system, 
both in extent and in history. A part of this is truly amazing. 
In the first place, Wise asserts, the laws relating to sacrifices 
in the Pentateuch are inconsistent and replete with conflict. 
How to account for this? Wise finds the answer in Exodus 20:24, 
which prescribes an altar of stone where one, to paraphrase 
Wise with my italics, "might, if he wanted to" offer sacrifices. 
That is, Moses initially wanted sacrifices to be voluntary, but 
after the incident of the golden calf, 

Moses realized that many of his people were not sufficiently free of 
Egyptian superstition to adhere to the pure worship of the one and 
invisible God, without the aid of external means to which they had 
been used. 

Therefore Levitical institutions were added, the purpose of 
which was 

""Chapter headings!'* 


to prevent the relapse into idolatry, and to educate the people gradually 
to the pure knowledge and worship of God. Had Moses intended the 
Levitical system [my italics:] for all eternity . . . the first passage . . . 
[would] have been entirely omitted in the Bible as being of no force 
and no value. . . . Psalmists and Prophets, Essenes and Pharisees, at 
times when idolatry had been effectively overcome, opposed the 
Levitical laws and institutions. . . . 

It appears ... to have been an acknowledged fact among the ancient 
Hebrews, as it is among modern critics, that Ezra was the final compiler 
of the Pentateuch. In the holy archives, rescued out of the destroyed 
Temple, he must have found two kinds of ancient documents, the 
Prophetical and Levitical. . . . Among the Prophetical scriptures, 
Ezra found the laws and speeches of Moses. Among the Levitical 
scriptures he found the Levitical laws, also ascribed to Moses. He 
compiled and harmonized both as best he could. 

Against the Levitical institutions, we have on record an almost 
uninterrupted line of opposition throughout the Bible, and down to 
the Essenes and Pharisees, without any evidence that they, or a large 
portion of them, originated with Moses. . . . Jesus coincided with that 
party in Israel, which opposed the Levitical institutions. . . . 

.... The Essenes and Pharisees offered theoretical opposition only, 
which did not directly interfere with the priestly immunities and 
prerogatives. But Jesus had come with the avowed intention to do it. ... 
Therefore the chief priests must have hated and opposed him with all 
the power at their command (ibid., September 10, 1869, pp. 8-9). 

Behind the story of the cursing of the fig tree in Mark n, 
Wise finds the second part of Jesus 5 sermon. The story itself is, 
Wise assures us, absurd: 

No figs on any tree are edible in Palestine about Passover time. . . . 
It involves a wickedness to destroy a tree which God has intended to 
grow, when the Law prohibits the wanton destruction of fruit trees 
even in the time of war. It involves a rashness on the part of Jesus . . . 
which . . . cannot be harmonized with his general character. But the 
purpose of the incident is to let Jesus speak on the power of prayer 
(for so the incident concludes in both Mark and in Matthew). 

Wise digresses momentarily to assert that Jesus never taught 
the Lord's prayer, for it was common knowledge among Jews, 
and then he returns to his point In the first part of his sermon, 



Jesus had argued in favor of abolishing the sacrificial system; 
"he dwells in the second part of his speech on the power of 
prayer in general and the forgiveness of sins in particular, as 
the mode of worship to supercede [sic] the sacrificial polity." 

These sentiments of Jesus were not, Wise assures us, new. 
But his sentiments "alarmed the chief priests." They knew 
"how popular and deep-seated the anti-Levitical theories were, 
and felt the magnitude of the threatened danger." 

Jesus' demand that the form of worship be changed from 
sacrifice to prayer was. Wise tells us, "a main feature in the 
Messianic scheme of redemption and which Jesus attempted at 
Jerusalem. This explains . . . the charges against Jesus . . . that 
he could destroy and rebuild the Temple in three days, which 
refers only and exclusively to the radical change in the form of 
worship" (ibid., September 17, 1869). 

Wise proceeds to the next point in the Gospel narrative, the 
conflict over the question of authority. Jesus, it will be recalled, 
is asked (Mark 1 1 127 ff. and parallels) by what authority he is 
acting. He is reported to counter with the offer to answer the 
question if first his questioners will tell him whether the baptism 
of John was from heaven or from man. When the questioners 
evaded responding, Jesus in turn refused to answer them. What 
did Wise make of all this? 

Wise contends that in Hebrew history the issue of authority 
had never been fully resolved. It lay partly in priests, partly in 
prophets. In Jesus 3 time the Pharisees inherited the prophetic 
mantle, but authority had at that juncture been usurped by the 
priests. Now, if Jesus had claimed prophetic authority in the 
controversy, he would have been asked for credentials which 
could not be forthcoming and consequently he would have been 
ridiculed; we recall that, according to Wise, Jesus did not work a 
miracle in Jerusalem. 

And even if Jesus were truly the Messiah, Wise argues, he 



could scarcely maintain that the Messiah had the power to 
abrogate laws which had been in existence for 1,500 years! 
Could Jesus confront the guardians of the sacrificial system with 
a contention that he had been granted the authority to abrogate 
that which they were dedicated to maintain? (ibid., September 
24, 1869, pp. 8-9). 

The nature of Jesus 3 reply that of a simple Galilean now 
confronted by brilliant and educated minds and thereby choosing 
a counterquestion must not be misconstrued as an unseemly 
dodging of the issue. Unable to point to a prophetic or messianic 
authority, Jesus 

pointed to the authority of John who had baptized and appointed 
him as one of the anti-Levitical and theocratic teachers in Israel, as a 
representative man of those who demanded the abrogation of the 
Levitical institutions and priesthood. . . . He spoke in the name and 
the authority of the laws and the people from the standpoint of a 
Pharisean associate, which he considered 'better than the authority 
of the king and the prophet . . . (ibid., September 24, October i 
and 8, 1869). 

Jesus 3 view of "Pharisean 5 ' authority is discernible, according 
to Wise, in the parable (Mark 12:1-12 and parallels) of the 
vineyard owner who sends a series of servants to obtain fruit 
from his tenants; the tenants not only beat the servants, but 
finally they kill the owner's son and heir. Wise requires three 
issues of The Israelite to arrive at his explanation of the parable, 
for he digresses to discuss both John the Baptist and Jewish 

The "parable" is not a parable, modern scholars tell us, but a 
loosely-knit group of symbolic events. The tenants are Israel; 
the owner is God. The "collectors" are the prophets; the son is 
Jesus. In the view of virtually all modern scholars, the "parable" 
arose long after Jesus' time. But, after asserting that Jesus would 
not skip about from subject to subject, Wise tells us what the 
parable means. 



In Wise's explanation, it is John the Baptist who is the son, 
the temple is the vineyard, and the tenants are the priests. 

If our suggestions are correct, the parable is genuine, and the reply of 
Jesus is complete. . . . God . . . entrusted this national sanctuary to 
the priests [tenants], who for centuries have been rebuked by the 
prophets [the servants], whom they have abused and scorned. Now 
the lord of the vineyard sent his son, John, who preached repentence 
[sic] and remission of sin; but he was killed [by Herod]. 

Wise, as though not quite sure that his interpretation is 
correct, spends several paragraphs defending its tenability. And 
having thereby protected Jesus from the possible charge of being 
evasive, he speaks warmly on "how Jesus confronted his powerful 
opponents. He did it nobly, boldly, and admirably, worthy of a 
great cause and a good man. 3 ' 

Wise interrupts his eulogistic summary: 

We hope to defend Jesus of Nazareth against his adversaries and to- 
save him from his friends. If the reader will patiently follow us through 
the labyrinth of researches which we must pass on account of the 
entirely new path we have to level, he shall finally have a full and 
correct image of Jesus himself, the historical man as he lived, taught,. 
acted and suffered (ibid., October 15, 1869, pp. 8-9). 

Wise turns now to what he terms in his chapter heading "The 
Positive Element in the System of Jesus." Wise contends that 
Jesus espoused Jewish theocracy to the point of being unwilling 
to handle or even look at a Roman coin bearing an effigy of 

Therefore, in strict conformity with the law of the land, he decided 
that every coin bearing the effigy of Caesar should not be turned to 
any earthly use, but returned to Caesar. This decision was not only 
satisfactory to Pharisean law, and the Pharisean contempt of wealth 
and luxury; it was a capital hit on those who loved the Roman coins 
too well, better even than their laws and their country (ibid., October 
29 and November 5, 1869). 

A long essay (in the issue of November 12, 1869) sets forth 
the view that "there is, indeed, ample material on record, to 



prove that Jesus respected the law, and considered salvation an 
obedience to it." A week later, Wise gives first a definition of 
the Kingdom of God, and then his opinion of Jesus' view. The 
definition which Wise gives he labels in very many places in his 
writings as "theocracy." The kingdom of God signifies "the 
unlimited dominion of God on earth as in heaven, and the 
connection of all men with him by the holy ties of supreme 
love. . . . The kingdom of heaven is in time and eternity, above 
and below, in this and every other world, in life and in death, 
unlimited, immutable, eternal and universal. . . ." The com- 
mentators, however, says Wise, make of the kingdom of heaven 
"a mystic phantom beyond the stars for some ascetic, weeping 
and praying misanthropes." Jesus wanted to abolish Levitical 
laws and to usher in the kingdom of heaven; he was opposed to 
human kings, whether a Jewish Herodian or a Roman Caesar. 

had come ... to deface the Levitical priests, to make an end of corrup- 
tion in high places, to return the Roman money to Rome, to restore 
the dominion of justice and love, to reconstruct the kingdom of 
heaven. . . . 

Did Jesus preach this gospel to Jews alone, or was it intended for 
the whole world? Like the prophets of old, he must have believed in the 
final triumph of truth, the redemption and fraternization of the human 
family in justice, freedom and peace. . . , All pious Israelites believed 
it, and repeated it thrice every day in their prayers. But Jesus knew 
this was not the mission of one man or any one age. . . . Our age is 
not ripe for the consummation of that divine purpose, how much less 
was the age of Jesus; and he must have known it. He considered it his 
mission to restore the kingdom of heaven in Israel. "I am not sent but 
to the lost sheep of Israel," if not his words, expressed certainly his 
sentiment (ibid., November 19, 1869, PP- 

In several succeeding issues of The Israelite, Wise discusses the 
relationship of Jesus to Jewish law. As before, he again asserts 
that Jesus advocated "theocracy." Wise then states that, when 
Jesus' teaching of the law of love evoked the observation that 



"no man thereafter durst ask him any question 35 (Mark 12:34), 
it meant that there was satisfaction among most of the Jews 
with his viewpoint and that "the triumph of Jesus with that class 
of Pharisees was complete" (ibid., November 26, 1869). Wise 
goes on to concede that this latter conclusion is discernible 
only in Mark and in Luke. 

The proof which Wise offers is the passage in which Jesus is 
asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" In Mark, Jesus 
replies: " 'The first is, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, 
the Lord is one." The second is this, "You shall love your 
neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater 
than these.' " Matthew and Luke, however, lack the citation of 
the "Hear, O Israel." Wise goes astray here, attributing the 
lack only to Matthew, and mistakenly asserting that Luke, like 
Mark, contains it. He would have been on sounder ground to 
have contrasted Mark with both Luke and Matthew, rather 
than Mark and Luke with Matthew. Having made the error, 
Wise goes on to state that Jesus' triumph with the Pharisees 
was complete, but "Matthew, whose anti-Pharisean [sic] tend- 
encies we will discuss in another chapter, turns the statement of 
the two other Evangelists, to convey the direct contrary (XXII, 
46)." It is nevertheless clear, says Wise, that "had Jesus enter- 
tained the remotest idea of abrogating the law, this question 
and the subsequent reply [which we find in Mark] would appear 
simply absurd. . . ." But why the different reply in Matthew, 
where the "Hear, O Israel" is omitted? Rather laconically, 
Wise gives an answer, and we must supply some words which 
Wise lacks. Mark (and in his mistaken view, Luke) is a strict 
Unitarian; "it appears that 'God is One' was [an obstacle] 
in Matthew's way, who was acquainted with Paul's son of 

Yet, despite the differences in the Gospel accounts, there is a 
basic agreement in the matter of the question and the answer, 



says Wise, to show that the love of God "is an integral part of 
Jesus 5 scheme of salvation. 5 ' 

Wise now proceeds to set forth at some length a distinction 
between "Love 35 and "Gnosis. 55 Love was for Jesus, as for Moses, 
the "Postulate of Ethics. 55 To hold such a view was "in strict 
compliance with one class of Pharisees. 55 The "gnostics 55 (not 
to be confused, says Wise, with the heretics of Christian history) 
were those who emphasized study and contemplation. They 
included the Essenes and the Therapeutae of Egypt, as well as 
those rabbis who expressed scorn for the 'Am Hcfaretz (the 
untutored). The principal exponent of such gnosticism was 
Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, upon whom the anti-gnostic 
Pharisees imposed a ban shortly after the fall of Jerusalem. 
From this latter incident it is clear, says Wise, that Pharisees 
"as a class were not responsible for this peculiar gnosticism. 
They held views entirely contrary. . . ." Passages in Aboth, such 
as "knowledge (research) is not the main thing, deeds are, 53 
represent the Pharisean school of love. The Levitical laws gave 
rise to Gnosis; the Mosaic, to Love. "Jesus advanced the law of 
love as the criterion by which to recognize the eternal and 
unalterable laws, the only infallible guides to happiness. . . , 55 13 

The agreement of Jesus with the Pharisees was not only in 
the "Postulate of Ethics 53 ; it was also in what Wise terms "the 
Postulate of Hermeneutics. 55 This latter, according to Wise, is 
expressed in the following passage: " 'Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor like thyself, 5 says Rabbi Akiba, c is the cardinal principle 
of the law. 5 Ben Azai [sic] said, c "This is the book of the gen- 
ealogy of man 55 is a principle superior to the above. 5 55 In a 

13 Wise continues: "If Jesus had been asked the question of crusades against 
infidels, pyres for heretics [sic] and unbelievers, persecution and torture for 
schismatics and Jews, exceptional laws and oppression for dissenters and heathens, 
inquisitions and auto-da-fees [sic] in the name of the church; he would have 
turned aside with a shudder in his veins and exclaimed, * Ye are ripe for the kingdom 
of Satan* " (ibid., December 3, 1869). 



footnote Wise supplies the Hebrew and his source, "Yalkut 613 
from Saphira." A few paragraphs later, Wise cites Hillel's 
formulation of the Golden Rule as still another example of 
the Law of Love. 

We need not linger on Wise's extended remarks on tangential 
issues. After several such pages, he proceeds to what he calls 
"A Review": . . . 

Jesus expected to save the people of Israel, to restore the kingdom of 
heaven. It was wise, sublime, thoroughly Jewish and worthy of a 
pious, enlightened and enthusiastic patriot. . . . The scheme was 
eminently religious and eminently impractical. Rome would not 
favor any policy or tolerate any popular movement which might 
have rescued Israel from the doom of destruction . . . great souls feel 
common disappointments much deeper than vulgar ones do. . . . Jesus 
standing upon the ruins of his hope of hopes . . . must indeed have 
exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 

What office, asks Wise, did Jesus fill? 

Peter's Messiah, a Jewish phantomism; Paul's Son of God, a Pagan 
vision from Olympus; and John's Logos, a purely Alexandrian product 
of speculation, are ideas as widely different from one another, as all of 
them are from the Godhead Jesus of trinitarian orthodoxy. They were 
three distinct epochs in the origin of Christianity. None of these titles 
does Jesus use or claim in the Gospels (ibid., December 31, 1869). 

Jesus himself never made the claim to Davidic descent (ibid., 
January 7, 1870). Rather, there is evidence "from fragments in 
the Gospels on the dissensions among the disciples about rank 
and precedence in the kingdom of heaven" that some of the 
disciples "must have speculated for Jesus on some kind of 
spiritual governorship in the reconstructed Theocracy" (ibid., 
January 14, 1870). The office of Jesus, in his own eyes, was 
"Son of Man." This "was the title of the prophets in and after 
the Babylonian exile." Indeed, 

the prophet was to be the chief man in the Theocracy. This is the 
position which Jesus expected in the reconstructed kingdom of heaven. 



It was not an office with emoluments. ... It was simply and exclusively 
a moral position. . . . 

Had Jesus actually restored and maintained the Theocracy he would 
have been its prophet. . . . Had his disciples not committed the 
unpardonable blunder of proclaiming him the Messiah, he might have 
escaped crucifixion But yielding to the ambition and false calcula- 
tion of his disciples, he sealed his death warrant (ibid., January 
28, 1870). 

Next Wise turns to a problem: "Jesus of Nazareth was a 
Pharisean doctor. He coincided with that party in every point 
of Theocracy." Then why, asks Wise, do New Testament 
writings attack the Pharisees and distort what they were? In 
answer, Wise combs rabbinic literature so as to be able to assess 
the Pharisees justly; and such quotations he balances by the 
assertion that "The anti-Pharisean passages of the gospels were 
written long after the death of Jesus . . ., when the Jewish sects 
besides the Pharisees and Christians almost disappeared, and 
Pharisaism and Judaism had become synonymous; and still 
later, in the second century, when Judaism and Christianity 
had become two distinct religions" (ibid., March 4, 1870). 

In the next issue (March n, 1870) Wise studies the anti- 
Pharisaic elements common to all three gospels (and thus, in 
his view, part of the aboriginal Gospel), sifting them so that they 
emerge no longer as anti-Pharisaic, but only as a denunciation of 
"hypocrisy, avarice and morbid ambition." The same pursuit 
occupies him in the following issue (March 18, 1870). He pro- 
longs the study still one more issue; therein he aligns Hillel with 
exponents of the Law of Love, and Shammai with the Gnostics. 
On this basis he is ready (ibid., April i, 1870) to conclude that 
Jesus "clung most tenaciously to the genuine Hillelites." 

Wise proceeds in the same issue to try to distinguish between 
the genuine aphorisms of Jesus and the spurious. Those aph- 
orisms which agree with the rabbis, and especially with the 
Hillelites, are genuine; the others are not. 



For perhaps the twentieth time Wise repeats that Jesus was a 
"Pharisean doctor of the Hillel school." He ends the segment 
of his essay with these words: "He spoke of his people with 
respect. He said to the Samaritan woman, c Ye worship ye 
know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of 
the Jew 5 (John IV, 22)." 

In capital letters there appear the words, "to be continued." 
Nevertheless, this was the end. 

Why did Wise not continue? Why did he not finish? We do 
not know. Perhaps his reason was profound; perhaps he simply 
ran out of time. Indeed, it may have been that he had said all 
that he wanted to say. 

If it should be suggested that he abstained from finishing 
because he had little confidence in the reliability of what he 
had written, then it can be reported that, in those instances 
where his subsequent writings touch on the contents of "Jesus 
Himself," the basic viewpoint and even specific details remain 
virtually unaltered. While I have not encountered a second 
mention of an aboriginal Gospel which served all three or four, 
or a clear repetition of his division of Pentateuchal religion 
into the Mosaic and the Levitic, yet overtones of both reappear, 
for example, in the material on Jesus in History of the Hebrews' 
Second Commonwealth (1880), pp. 255-68. Moreover, his portrait 
of Jesus recurs without change in a work, originally published 
in 1874, which enjoyed three printings, the last in 1888; I refer 
to The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth which I mentioned earlier. 
The Jesus who walked in the pages of "Jesus Himself' walks 
these pages, too. Indeed, The Martyrdom is in a sense the conclu- 
sion to the unfinished "Jesus Himself," for in The Martyrdom 
Wise takes up the account virtually where it left off. 

Wise is not to be classified as a scholar in the same sense in 
which we rank David Friedrich Strauss, or Ferdinand Christian 
Baur, or Oskar Holtzmann, or others of his time. Scholarly, 



perhaps, but a scholar of New Testament he is assuredly not. 
His writings in this area are devoid of any lasting scientific value; 
he was essentially a shrewd, self-taught homiletician who wrote 
farfetched things. But here is a matter always to be remembered: 
Bible, whether Old or New Testament, has always attracted the 
mind that is capricious and cavalier. Wise was doing the same 
kind of thing that many second-rate Protestant scholars were 
doing. He is more farfetched only when we isolate single 
instances; in the totality of the effect, one need only peruse those 
who have summarized the overabundant books called "The 
Life of Jesus" to see that Wise was in the main stream of the 
imaginative Protestant dilettantes. 

But when one assesses the total man a very busy rabbi, 
the editor of both an English and a German weekly, a traveler, 
a novelist (sometimes he had two novels running serially at the 
same time), and the compiler of a prayer book and when one 
remembers that he fathered the Union of American Hebrew 
Congregations, the Hebrew Union College, and the Central 
Conference of American Rabbis, then one wonders how he had 
the time to devise and record his ingenious theories, and the 
tenacity to stick to them. He had neither the training nor the 
discipline for exact and lasting scholarship. 

Yet his writings on Jesus in general, and the incomplete 
"book" which we have surveyed in particular, have an impor- 
tance which transcends by far their lack of permanent academic 
merit. Wise began by doubting that Jesus ever lived; then, as 
we saw, he began to write his biography. 

Nineteenth-century New Testament scholarship among Prot- 
estants was aimed, both consciously and unconsciously, at 
recovering the Jesus of history and at placing him in his Jewish 
setting. To accomplish this meant to Wise's Gentile contem- 
poraries exactly what it meant to Wise: to peel off layers of 
legend and theology and to restore the man. Except among those 



Christians and Jews who made a Gentile out of Jesus, such a 
reconstituted man was plainly and simply a Jew. It seems to 
me justified to suggest that, at the time Wise was denying that 
Jesus ever lived, he was negating a "Christian" Jesus. Once the 
thought came to him that Jesus was a Jew, Wise not only 
affirmed his existence, but made him the protagonist, indeed 
the hero, of his account. 

Truly, for Wise, Jesus was a noble Jew whose only mis- 
demeanor was his mistake in yielding to the importunings of 
Peter and the other disciples. It is they who are the villains to 
Wise except that he finds an even greater archvillain when 
he deals with the apostolic age and directs his attention to Paul. 

Wise, however, falls short of something which later Jewish 
writers, both scholars and dilettantes alike, endeavor to do. In 
Wise there is an effort merely to restore the Jewishness of Jesus; 
in later writers the quest extends to reclaiming Jesus for Judaism. 
Joseph Klausner, in Jesus of Nazareth (1922), English translation, 
p. 414, does some reclaiming: 

. . . Jesus is, for the Jewish nation, a great teacher of morality and an artist 
in parable. ... If ... this ethical code be stripped of its wrappings of 
miracles and mysticism, the Book of the Ethics of Jesus will be one 
of the choicest treasures in the literature of Israel for all time. I4 

If the distinction which I intend between restoring and 
reclaiming Jesus is clear the distinction is one of degree and 
thereby almost one of kind then the significance of Wise's 
writings begins to emerge. The age-old antipathy, as reflected 
in the travesties on Jesus, as in Toledot Teshu, was inconsistent 
with an age of enlightenment and broad horizons. Moreover, 
there was no spiritual or physical ghetto in the United States, 
and Jews and Christians lived side by side in a relatively high 

x * Klausncr was taken to task by Armancl Kaminka (pnn, August, 1922) for the 
sentiments quoted. A partial translation of Kaminka's sharp criticism is to be 
found in Harvard Theological Review (January, 1923, pp. 1003). 



state of harmony and good will. Christianity inevitably intruded 
into the consciousness of Jews, and so did Jesus. 

Wise wrote as he did because he was Wise; he was moved so 
to write because no Jew breathing the free air of America could 
refrain from coming to grips in some way with Christianity and 
with Jesus. Indifference and total lack of contact were possible 
only in ghettos where medievalism had survived. Wise wrote 
because he had to write; he could not be the leader of an 
American Jewish community and not do so. In 1876, Max 
Schlesinger, a rabbi in Albany, published The Historical Jesus of 
Nazareth\ in the same year, Frederic de Sola Mendes published 
Defence, not Defiance: A Hebrew* s Reply to the Missionaries. 

I have spoken above of a distinguished work by the Swedish 
scholar Gosta Lindeskog, Die Jesusfrage im neuzeitlichen Judentum 
("The Question of Jesus in Recent Judaism")- It is an excellent 
summary of books by Jews on Jesus, as well as of articles appear- 
ing in scientific journals. If there is any weakness in the book, 
it is the understandable failure to include the sermons and the 
small tracts which American rabbis produced in some number. 
When Klausner's book first appeared in its English translation, 
another Wise, Stephen S. Wise, reviewed the book from his 
pulpit (December, 1925). The press accounts disclose that the 
sermon was a "reclamation" of Jesus, and a historic storm broke 
over the head of Stephen Wise. * s It is this kind of incident and 
writing which is lacking in Lindeskog. 

Joseph Bonsirven, a French priest whose book Les Jtdfs et 
J&sus was published in 1937, addresses himself in quite good 
measure to the sermons and tracts of American rabbis; in fact, 
he asks whimsically if it is the usual practice among American 

x s I record my thanks to Rabbi Albert G. Minda for giving me his file on this 
affair. It is a good collection of clippings from the days and weeks after Wise's 
sermon. An account of the matter can be found in the Review of Reviews, LXXIII, 
203, and in the Christian Century, XLIII, 26. 



rabbis to publish their sermons. He mentions the Stephen Wise 
matter several times. Bonsirven records with acknowledged 
pleasure that the Jewish attitude towards Jesus has undergone 
the notable change from disparagement to reclamation. He 
says somewhat plaintively (p. 213): "J6sus, ils entendent de 
tirer chez eux, ils ne veulent pas venir chez lui" (The Jews mean 
to draw Jesus to themselves, they do not want to come to him). 
The impression which one gets from Bonsirven is that the 
reclamation of Jesus is, or has been, a matter of the twenties 
and thirties of this century. The rabbis whom he cites include 
Hyman G. Enelow, Abraham J. Feldman, G. George Fox, 
Solomon B. Freehof, Ephraim Frisch, Emil G. Hirsch, Ferdinand 
M. Isserman, Joseph Krauskopf, Louis I. Newman, Abram 
Simon, Ernest Trattner, and Stephen Wise. The book, then, is 
weighted towards Bonsirven's own day and ours. 

The fact is, however, that restoration, or even reclamation, 
began a full half century before the period which Bonsirven 
discusses. No one has yet studied in detail the Jewish "reclama- 
tion" of Jesus. It could well make a fascinating subject, espe- 
cially if one went away from the highroads which Lindeskog 
maps out and into the earlier bypaths of the American con- 
gregational rabbis and their minor publications. 

Such a study would give us a fuller perspective on Isaac 
Mayer Wise and his approach to Jesus. He marks a significant 
chapter, if not in the "reclamation" of Jesus, at least in his 


The Temple Emanu-El Theological 
Seminary of New York City 


It is with a feeling of profound affection and gratitude 
that I share in this academic tribute to the American 
Jewish Archives, and to its founder and director. Pro- 
fessor Jacob R. Marcus. The Archives has grown, in the 
brief span of ten years, to a position of prestige and 
usefulness among American historical resources, pri- 
marily through the imagination, skill, and inspiration of 
its Director. With single-minded devotion he has created 
a climate of enthusiasm for the collection of source mate- 
rials in the field of Jewish Americana, for the study and 
publication of the results of research, and for the assess- 
ment of the experiences of the Jews and of their heritage 
in this land. May the Archives continue to expand and 
prosper under the aegis of its creative Director, my 
teacher and friend, to whose guidance I owe the stimula- 
tion and development of my own concern with research 
in American Jewish themes. 

J.HE FORTUNATE discovery of the minute book of 
the Emanu-El Theological Seminary Society of New York City 
(now safely deposited in the American Jewish Archives) makes 
it possible, with far more accuracy than before, 1 to describe 
the early history of the first effort to create a Reform theological 
seminary in the United States. 

Dr. Bertram Wallace Korn is the spiritual leader of Reform Congregation Keneseth 
Israel, Philadelphia, Pa. 

1 Bertram W. Korn, Eventful Tears and Experiences (Cincinnati, 1954), 160-61. 



American Jewish leaders had early felt the necessity of creating 
a Jewish theological seminary in America, where young men, 
born in this country, might be trained for the rabbinate. Jewish 
congregational officers were distressed by the shortage of able 
rabbis, and even the few capable men who came here from 
abroad with the requisite knowledge and background were at 
an obvious disadvantage in seeking to meet the needs of con- 
gregations in this country. Language barriers and strange new 
customs were difficult obstacles to overcome. Only one effort 
to establish an American Jewish institution of higher learning 
was made before the Civil War; Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise of 
Cincinnati founded Zion College in 1855. It functioned for two 
years as a school for the study of the humanities, and included a 
department of Hebrew and Jewish learning. Wise envisioned its 
future as a total university complex, with a theological seminary 
at its center. Unfortunately, Zion College survived for only 
two years. Geographic jealousies and ineptitudes in leadership 
militated against its success. 

After the Civil War, however, when civilian energies might 
once again be directed towards peaceful pursuits, and after 
Jews in the North had gained a heightened feeling of at-homeness 
in America, a number of practical attempts were made to 
establish a rabbinical school. One was the Philadelphia plan, 
suggested by leaders of the local Jewish community and sup- 
ported by the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, which 
eventuated in the opening of Maimonides College in Phila- 
delphia in 1867; a second was the scheme for the creation of a 
seminary under the auspices of the Independent Order of B'nai 
B'rith, which was abandoned after a year of acrimonious discus- 
sion; the third was the Emanu-El proposal. 2 

Isaac Mayer Wise's Zion College had been envisioned, like 

a For a fuller description of the early history of the seminary movement and of 
the activity of Maimonides College, see Korn, op. cit., 151-213. 



his Cleveland Conference of Rabbis, as a common meeting- 
ground for traditionalists and Reformers; Maimonides College 
leaned towards the traditional, but two of its three graduates 
became Reform rabbis; the B'nai B'rith seminary, which was 
to become the core of an eventual Jewish University, was also 
conceived of as a compromise between traditionalism and 
liberalism. But the Temple Emanu-El seminary, characteris- 
tically, was designed to train only Reform rabbis, under the 
auspices of the most radical of the Reform congregations in 

Broached first at a meeting of the ritual committee of Temple 
Emanu-El on May 5, 1865, and recommended as an expression 
of "thankfulness to the Almighty 53 for the cessation of war, 3 
the new seminary was not suggested as an answer to the needs 
of the total Jewish community, but rather as an avenue for the 
extension of Reform Judaism. In a communication sent to the 
members of Congregation Emanu-El summoning them to a 
meeting on June 18, 1865, to discuss the proposal, Rabbi Samuel 
Adler urged the creation of a seminary for the training of rabbis 
who would carry out the work of Reform: 

He that is a Jew, not merely in name but from conviction and with 
all his heart, must feel deeply interested in having our pure religion 
freed from the alloy which the dark ages of the past and especially 
the terrible fate of our ancestors have mingled with it so that this 
purified faith may extend to larger circles and be transmitted to our 
children and to coming generations. In this land of liberty we ought 
not only to enjoy our liberty in trade and commerce, but also to 
retrieve our most sacred professions, our religious confession and our 
religious life from the various disfigurations and defects which are 
the sad inheritance of still sadder times. Here in this country with no 
interference on the part of the government it is our most sacred duty 
to cause Judaism to be universally respected and to justify the predic- 
tion that "our religion is our wisdom and our understanding in the 
eyes of the nations." 

a Minute Book, i. 



But in order to bring about this desirable state of things we need men 
endowed with thorough knowledge and inspired with a glowing zeal 
for their calling, men who have devoted their lives to the study and 
the spreading of the law . . . theological orators who can preach in the 
English tongue, who can be heard and understood by the rising 
generation. . . . 4 

Adler said, in his letter, that no tremendous sum of money 
would be needed to create the new seminary, for no young 
men were available to enter immediately upon theological 
studies. The only pressing requirement was the creation of a 
preparatory class or department; a small sum of money would 
guarantee the establishment of such a school. Only after a 
number of years would it be necessary to create a full seminary 
for graduate instruction. 

At the first public meeting of the new organization, called 
the Emanu-El Theological Seminary Society, on June 18, 1865, 
twenty- three gentlemen joined as life members at an individual 
cost of $100, and seventy-five agreed to contribute $10 a year 
as annual members. A board of seven members was elected 
to carry on the work of the Society, and a set of bylaws was 
adopted. The preamble to the latter indicated the awareness 
of the framers that the founding of "a fully endowed Jewish 
Theological Seminary" would take a long time; for the present 
they would be content with "the assisting ... of such Jewish 
youths as wish to study Jewish Theology. 35 The bylaws included 
a number of significant provisions: "The object of this Institution 
shall be the education of Jewish youth, on the basis of reform . . . 
a majority of the board shall at all times be members of the 

Emanu-El Congregation of the City of New York The 

minister of the Temple Emanu-El be at all times ex Officio a 
member of the Board of Trustees but not to have a vote." The 
limited character of the Society was established from the first. 

Ibid., 2-4. 



Not only was its objective restricted to service to the Reform 
movement, but its control was to be vested in the hands of one 
Reform congregation. s 

It is doubtful that the small number of radical Reform con- 
gregations at the time could have mustered enough energy 
and enthusiasm to support a full-fledged seminary of their 
own; certainly no single congregation, whatever its enthusiasm 
or substance, could succeed in carrying out so ambitious a 
project. Although the membership solicitation proceeded sat- 
isfactorily, to the extent that thirty-nine life members and 
one hundred and twenty annual members had been enrolled 
by the time of the first annual meeting on October 8, i865, 6 
the Emanu-El seminary remained a paper organization. Public 
reaction to its creation was altogether wanting; no pupils had 
responded to the advertisements offering scholarships, and cir- 
culars which appealed to other Reform congregations throughout 
the country for financial support and for recommendations of 
students drew no replies. 7 There was no planned academic 
program; no faculty members had been appointed; no one 
person, neither Moses Schloss, the president, nor any board 
member, nor Rabbi Adler himself, gave any indication of that 
kind of devotion and consecration which alone would serve to 
attract students to a non-existent institution. 

In the fall of 1866, two students, William Rosenblatt of 
Hartford, and Michael Gohn of New York City, matriculated 
at Columbia College at the expense of the Emanu-El Society, 
and studied Hebrew with Isaac Adler, son of Rabbi Adler, 
but both, for unexplained reasons, abandoned their purpose 
within a year. 8 

* Ibid., 5-12. 

6 Ibid., 13, 
^ Ibid., 13-14. 

* Ibid., 25-26, 34. 



Meanwhile, it was beginning to dawn upon the leaders of 
the Society that other Reform congregations would give no 
support to an institution named for and dominated by one 
congregation. Rabbi David Einhorn, who had just come to 
New York from Philadelphia, was, therefore, invited to become 
an honorary member of the board. No sooner was he elected 
than he became an outspoken leader of the effort to broaden 
the base of the Society. He spoke at length at the annual meeting 
on October 21, 1866. Although he agreed that membership 
should be limited to Reform Jews, he insisted that the inclusion 
of the name of Temple Emanu-El in the title of the Society, and 
the restriction that a majority of board members be affiliated 
with that congregation, would weaken the Society's efforts. He 
spared no words in his frank appraisal of the failure of the 

. . . Your institution exists only in the imagination; you have a 
pretty large number of members, an excellent Board of trustees, 
annual meetings, but only one thing is wanting the Seminary; 
you have everything, but neither teachers nor pupils. We have just 
heard of the existence of two pupils, but these are waiting for a Sem- 
inary as for the Messiah. Where is their professor? Dr. Adler, this I 
know, does not instruct them. Your Seminary is a still-born child, 
because the noble mother that bore it was pleased to wear a too tightly- 
laced corset. . . . 9 

Einhorn's plea, coupled with the obvious disappointment of 
other leaders at the moribund state of the Society's affairs, 
created enough momentum for the annual meeting to authorize 
a change of name. At a meeting held on November 15, 1866, 
the board approved a new name, The American Hebrew College 
of the City of New York. Thereafter memberships were solicited 
and obtained from members of other Reform congregations in 
the city. As evidence of the high hopes of the board at this 

Ibid., 17-19; Hebrew Leader (New York), October 26, 1866, 4. 


time, it is instructive to note the refusal of the board to grant a 
stipend to a young Hartford boy who was studying at the 
seminary in Breslau, because "we intend to build a College 
here." 10 

But prospects did not improve. Although the new name was 
adopted at the annual meeting of 1867, and Rabbis Adler and 
Einhorn were authorized to engage "a Professor of the Hebrew 
Language" at a cost of not more than $150 a year, there were 
still no definite plans, no regular courses of proposed study, and 
no students. 11 A Mr. Schnabel was engaged as instructor in 
Hebrew in November, 1867, 12 but the minutes fail to indicate 
that any pupils enrolled for his course. By May, 1868, the fate 
of the seminary appeared so dismal that one member of the 
board offered this pessimistic resolution: 

Whereas, It is the opinion of this Board that the welfare of this society 
can only be promoted by undaunted exertion on our part, and 

Whereas, From the experience the Board has had for the past two 
years, we find that there are at present, no young men in the country 
who will devote themselves to the Jewish Ministry, therefore 

Resolved, That two candidates of the Jewish Theology shall be 
procured either from Europe or any part of the United States, for 
the purpose of perfecting themselves in their theological studies, 
combined with the English language and literature. . . . I3 

So quickly had the members of the Board changed their minds 
about the prospects of the seminary that they gave up all hope 
of creating a school, or of assembling classes of students, and 
now would be content to find two candidates anywhere in the 

"Ibid., 25. 
11 Ibid., 26, 28. 
Ia Ibid., 29. 
* s Ibid., 32. 



world who had already begun to study for the rabbinate and 
would be willing to come to New York City. Advertisements 
were inserted in Jewish papers in the United States and Europe 
"advising all persons who have already laid the foundation to a 
course of study in Jewish Theology, that upon application to 
the Hebrew Theological Seminary of New York, they will be 
transported here, at the cost of the Society, and may continue 
to complete their studies under the auspices of this Society, 
whose object shall also be to procure proper situations for such 
candidates on completion of their course of study." I4 

Again an application for a stipend for European study was 
rejected; on October 12, 1868, the board refused such a request 
by Isaac Schoenberg of Mainz. 15 The members of the board 
stood firm in their determination to prepare rabbis for the 
American ministry in the United States, rather than in Europe. 
But the advertisements achieved no result. And now, apparently, 
recriminations began. The secretary gives no hint of the reason, 
but the Society was formally dissolved on November 10, 1869, 
after another year of failure, and reorganized a month later, 
once again under the aegis of Temple Emanu-EL x 6 The con- 
tributions which had been made by members of other Reform 
congregations were returned to them, at their request, ag- 
gregating a total of $1,560. There had probably been no single 
cause disrupting The American Hebrew College of the City 
of New York, but a combination of causes: disappointment 
among the Emanu-El leaders that there had not been an 
enthusiastic influx of other Reform Jews into the Society, 
disagreement among the various rabbis over suggested proposals 
for action, disillusionment of non-members of Emanu-El at the 




continuing domination of the board by leaders of Emanu-El, 
and despair of any practical results by most of the members. 

The new Society, returned to the matrix of Congregation 
Emanu-El, failed to accomplish anything remarkable. An effort 
was made in 1870 to establish branch societies in various 
cities, but only two congregations responded, and the idea was 
dropped. z 7 The Society's funds were, in a moment of caution, 
transferred to the treasury of the congregation. Finally, at a 
meeting on July 6, 1871, the board adopted the concept which 
it had resisted since 1865: the financial maintenance of American 
students at European seminaries. 18 One hundred and fifty 
dollars a year was voted to Henry Cohn in 1871; $350 a year 
was awarded to Emil G. Hirsch in i873; 19 ^d $ J 5 a Y ear to 
Samuel Sale in i874- 20 (The larger amount to Hirsch is ex- 
plained probably by the close personal relationship which 
existed between Rabbi Adler and Emil's father, Rabbi Samuel 
Hirsch of Philadelphia.) Other applications for stipends were 
considered; some were rejected because of lack of fitness on the 
part of students; others were approved as the years went by. 2I 
The seminary of Temple Emanu-El, during this period, never 
really functioned as a school. It was not until about 1877, under 
the vigorous leadership of Rabbi Gustav Gottheil, Samuel 
Adler's colleague and eventual successor in the Emanu-El 
pulpit, that the Society actually created a preparatory rabbinical 
seminary. For about ten years, this school gave preparatory 
training to rabbinical students, and then sent them for further 
education to Europe or to the Hebrew Union College in 

" ibid., 38, 41, 43. 

**Ibid., 44. 
1 9 Ibid., 49. 
10 Ibid.> 50, 52. 
IML 9 53-54. 



Cincinnati. The story of these years is detailed in Richard 
GottheiPs biography of his father. a 2 

But by 1877, when Temple Emanu-El established a genuine 
preparatory school, the forces of moderate Reform, led by Rabbi 
Isaac Mayer Wise, had already succeeded in creating the Union 
of American Hebrew Congregations and its proteg6, the Hebrew 
Union College. Too late on October 26, 1875, to be exact 
some three weeks after the Hebrew Union College opened its 
doors in Cincinnati, Rabbi Samuel Adler realized that the only 
way to establish a viable seminary would be through joint, 
completely cooperative action by a group of congregations 
working together in harmonious and idealistic fashion. His 
recommendation that Temple Emanu-El take the lead in 
organizing a new union of Reform congregations, primarily 
for the purpose of establishing a seminary, had been too long in 
coming. 23 Isaac Mayer Wise had already done this, and in 
such a way as to gain the support not only of the moderate 
Reformers, but also of liberal traditionalists. 

It was, in part, this organizational problem which had 
defeated Temple Emanu-El. The pioneering task of creating 
an American Jewish seminary was too big for any one con- 
gregation. Many congregations, with all the imaginative leader- 
ship which they could muster, would be needed to support 
such an institution morally and spiritually, as well as financially. 
Of even greater significance was the lack of a single visionary 
mind at the helm, to grapple with the realistic problems of 
curriculum, faculty, students, books, and the hundred and one 
other difficulties which assail the leader of an educational 
undertaking. Isaac Leeser had played such a role at the inception 

" Richard Gottheil, The Life of Gustav Gottheil. Memoir of a Priest in Israel (Wil- 
liamsport, Pa., 1936), 48-59. 

a s Minute Book, 54. 



of Maimonides College; his death soon afterwards doomed 
Maimonides College to eventual failure. Isaac Mayer Wise was 
this single-minded leader in Cincinnati; the success of the 
Hebrew Union College was in direct proportion to his own 
tremendous labors. The Temple Emanu-El people, however, 
sought to establish a seminary through the (at best) halfhearted 
efforts of laymen. It is doubtful if Rabbi Samuel Adler had the 
temperament, the vigor, and the imagination to carry out the 
heavy responsibilities of creating a new seminary but he was 
never even given the chance ! His name was added to the board 
of the Emanu-El Society as an afterthought, and then as an 
ex-officio member without the right to vote. 

But the fundamental occasion (if not the reason) for the 
failure of all of the earliest ventures in the creation of an Amer- 
ican Jewish seminary was the difficulty of attracting young 
American boys to rabbinic careers. Zion College, Maimonides 
College, and the Emanu-El seminary collapsed so easily and so 
quickly because there was no demand for the sort of educational 
opportunity which they offered. It required a tremendously 
effective and idealistic leader to wheedle, cajole, and persuade 
boys to undertake the arduous studies which would prepare 
them to assume the burdens of a ministry which was, at this 
particular juncture of American Jewish life, especially onerous 
and difficult. A genuinely able president or dean would have 
inspired young men with a vision of the dramatic opportunity 
which was theirs to serve their people, their faith, and their God 
through the ministry. Such an educator would have been able 
to rescue from despondency a young man like Henry Cohn, who 
had the integrity to write this pathetic letter to the Emanu-El 
Society after a year in Berlin as the first Emanu-El scholar to be 
sent abroad: 



Berlin, Dec[em]b[e]r 3rd, 1872, 
Moses Schloss, Esq. 
New York 

Dear Sir: 

Being more than a year in this country for the purpose of preparing 
myself for the Jewish ministry and having been sent there for that 
object by "The Emanu-El Theological Semfinary] Ass[ociatio]n," I 
consider it my duty to acquaint you with the present state of my 

Before my departure for Europe I was well aware of the great 
difficulties connected with the study of the Talmud and the Rabbinical 
Literature. I was convinced that these studies were in some respects 
more difficult than those of any other of the learned professions. But, 
notwithstanding these obstacles, I thought that with the proper 
perseverance and diligence I would be able to attain my object. You 
have received the reports of my instructors respecting my progress 
during the ist term. Encouraged by the labor which I had expended 
on my studies, they believed themselves justified in advising me to 
proceed. These testimonials gave me stronger hopes. I began the 
work of the following term with renewed vigor, yes, I can say I worked 
even more diligently than during the first session. But I must confess, 
to my sorrow that my labor was not crowned with that success which 
should encourage me to continue the study of Jewish theology any 
longer. Now at the end of a year on looking back at the way I have 
passed over I find that my progress was unhappily transient, that 
the results gained are small and the obstacles to be overcome [are] 
stupendous, I have therefore on serious consultation with my instructors 
and friends come to the conclusion that it is impossible for me to 
attain the object desired. 

I regret very much that I must come to this conclusion, but accord- 
ing to my view of the case it is my duty to sacrifice all personal consid- 
erations for the sake of our sacred cause. It is not enough that the 
ministers in Israel be enthusiastic, they must also be men of superior 
mental endowments, men who are at all times able to grapple with 
the great religious and social questions of the age. In America espe- 
cially, where there are ministers who are by no means fit for their 
calling, such men as I have before mentioned are now absolutely 
necessary. I feel that I have not these endowments, and my experience 
in Germany has convinced me beyond all doubt that diligence alone 



is not sufficient. For these reasons therefore, I have come to the 
conclusion that I would serve the interests of Judaism better, if I do 
not become a minister. 

I hope that you and all the members of the Association will after 
these statements not consider me as one who has become tired of the 
hard work and consequently gives it up, but as one whom duty and 
circumstances over which he has no control compel to sever himself 
from that which is dearest to his heart. Before closing my letter I 
must thank you and all the officers and members of the society for 
the aid granted, and wish from the bottom of my heart that very 
soon such Jewish youth will be found who are in all respects fitted 
to be the mental and religious guides of American Judaism. May the 
pain which I experience myself in leaving these pursuits atone in 
some measure for your disappointed hopes. 

I remain, 

Yours very respectfully, 


All this is not to say that the Emanu-El project was a complete 
and total failure. The recognition of the need for an American 
seminary which impelled the leaders of the Temple to create 
their Society was a positive achievement; the collection of funds 
which, eventually, were used to endow scholarships which 
enabled American Jewish boys to study at European seminaries 
was a positive achievement; the gradual awakening of public 
opinion throughout the country for the support of rabbinic 
training, to which the Emanu-El Society contributed, was a 
positive achievement; the subsidization of the rabbinic education 
of superior leaders like Emil G. Hirsch and Samuel Sale was a 
positive achievement indeed, the funds of the Emanu-El 
Seminary have been used to this very day to subvention the 
rabbinic education of young men at the Hebrew Union College - 
Jewish Institute of Religion surely a lasting contribution. 

3 < 47-49. The letter closed with a postscript promising to repay the funds granted 
to him and requesting a further loan, which, however, was refused. 


The Semikah 

of the Rev. Dr. Kaufmann Kohler 



AHE Rev. Dr. Kaufmann Kohler (1843-1926) was 
me of the great American Jewish scholars called upon to 
preside over the affairs of the Hebrew Union College* A prodi- 
gious and prolific scholar, he was steeped in the learning and 
ore of his people, and was fully at home in the literatures and 
philosophies of the Western world, ancient and modern. When, 
n 1903, he assumed the presidency of the Hebrew Union 
Hollege, he brought to his task also the practical knowledge 
md experience which he had gained through a long career in 
he American rabbinate. Under his guidance, the educational 
md administrative practices of the oldest American training 
chool for rabbis, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, underwent 
nanifold changes. The eighteen and a half years of his admin- 
stration comprise in the history of that institution a period 
narked by notable achievements, all of them tending to raise 
he standing of the College, in the world of Jewish and the- 
Jogical scholarship, and to elevate the position which it occupied 
imong American institutions of higher learning. 

Under Kaufmann Kohler' s administration, the Hebrew Union 
College transferred its location from its modest building on 
^Vest Sixth Street to the imposing structures reared on the 
leights (Clifton Avenue), in close proximity to the University 

)r. Joshua Bloch, former librarian, chief of the Jewish Division of the New York 
>ublic Library, passed away on September 26, 1957. 



of Cincinnati. Kohler encouraged the growth and development 
of the College library, whose resources are comparable to some of 
the best collections of Jewish and related literatures anywhere 
else. All this was not attained without a determined and success- 
ful effort to gain munificent-minded friends for the institution 
and to effect exacting changes in the administrative practices 
and procedures, especially those which governed the admission 
of students and the raising of the requirements for graduation* 
He raised the academic standards of the College by systematizing 
its curriculum, by introducing into it a number of new courses, 
he himself taking charge of some of them, and by lengthening 
its course of study from eight to nine years, the first four of 
which were spent in its Preparatory Department, followed by 
another four years in its Collegiate Department. The ninth 
was to be devoted exclusively to post-graduate studies. 

Moreover, Kohler also proceeded to strengthen the faculty 
of the Hebrew Union College by augmenting its ranks with 
men whose fame in the world of scholarship was already well- 
established. In the course of time he added several younger 
men, graduates of the College. The first of them was Julian 
Morgenstern, and the last of his appointees was Jacob Rader 
Marcus. Both of these men, native sons of this blessed land, 
have attained positions of well-merited recognition as com- 
petent scholars each in his chosen field of learning and 
able administrators. As Dr. Kohler's successor in the presidency 
of the Hebrew Union College, Dr. Morgenstern served with 
distinction from 1921 to 1947. He, too, drew from the ranks of 
the graduates of the College other learned men who have like- 
wise served on the faculty of the Hebrew Union College with 
notable success. 

Dr. Jacob R. Marcus has achieved wide recognition as an 
expert in American Jewish history, a considerably neglected 
field in Jewish historiography. As the energetic founder and 



director of the American Jewish Archives, he has created an 
institution which has already become a remarkably rich repos- 
itory of papers and documents whose historical value cannot be 
overestimated. It is virtually impossible to undertake the success- 
ful pursuit of research, leading to the historical presentation of 
any aspect of American Jewish experience, without access to 
the resources of that remarkable institution. 

It is in tribute to Dr. Marcus that the present writer offers 
for publication the text, with facsimile of the original document, 
of the semikah, the rabbinical diploma, which Dr. Kohler 
received at the hands of Dr. Joseph Aub, eminent rabbi of 
Berlin. The use of this document, in an effort to honor Dr. 
Marcus, is indeed appropriate, for he represents the last of the 
group of scholars who was called by Dr. Kohler to serve on 
the faculty of the Hebrew Union College and, incidentally, the 
only one of those whom Kohler called out of the ranks of those 
Hebrew Union College graduates whom he had himself 
ordained. Dr. Marcus carries in himself much of the spirit and 
zeal for the advancement of Jewish learning which characterized 
Dr. Kohler's career as scholar, teacher, preacher, and admin- 

In his student days, when Dr. Kohler lived in Berlin, he 
found Jewish life there to be "frosty and uncongenial." x Under 
the circumstances, it was natural that he should have turned 
to the home of Dr. Joseph Aub, who, like himself, had come to 
the great northern metropolis from his native Bavaria. Though 
they were distantly connected, Dr. Kohler's uncle having 
married a cousin of Dr. Aub, Kohler complained that Aub 
"never made me feel at home in his house." 2 Apparently, the 

1 See Kaufmann Kohler, Studies, Addresses and Personal Papers (New York, 1931), 
P. 477- 
3 Ibid. 



then "frosty and uncongenial" atmosphere of Berlin was not 
very friendly to Dr. Aub himself. His Bavarian accent and 
other considerations contributed to the fact that "he was no 
success in the pulpit" of Berlin. Dr. Aub thought that he had 
come there to pave the way for Dr. Abraham Geiger; in his 
witty way, Aub told Kohler, "I have been called hither as the 
Moshiach ben Joseph to prepare the way for Dr. Geiger, the 
real Moshiach.' 5 

Almost as a matter of course, Kohler, the young Bavarian 
student, presented himself to the Bavarian Rabbi Aub for 
examination with a view to qualifying for a career in the rab- 
binate. When Kohler left Berlin, in 1869, he carried with him 
the semikah) the rabbinical diploma, which he had obtained that 
year from Dr. Aub. The eminent Berlin rabbi was well-satisfied, 
as the document testifies, with the results of the examination to 
which he had subjected his Bavarian coreligionist. These in- 
cluded satisfactory answers to fourteen ritual questions which 
had been submitted to Kohler. "These are your first sheelot" 
Dr. Aub is reported to have said, jokingly, to Kohler, "and 
probably also the last you will have to answer." 3 

Text of the Semikah Conferred upon Dr. Kohler 
by Dr. Aub, Eminent Berlin Rabbi 

,crif?x:j ^n nwvV os&n TOK taa mra ,onD omaa 
*o nt px jnrwn sraa warn asnx axa tf?o rrhm* itom >n to VTO 
atom inx viwa wn .-warn srraai am isix ITS ,DvrtKn n^a DK 
ntoip ^vina ny^n^p nvb 'an nann p n^va ^3*1 Tarom Tp 1 

pa 16 ara ora TO inny na *D 

3 Rid., p. 1/8. 



Facsimile of the Original Semikah 

/f A V ~^ rl * t 

<o* C.-M ^i /^-it *f%A ^<<7 V/^ <^W /^4tM/ -" f >i ">? XH** *w^ I**' 1 * 

A7 ^' 4jr/2^ ^/</.A /-M -^ ?i^ <wiC< iJt^ O.. A CJ 



nra na* parf? ,na:>nn Vip VK ^Dttrf? itm nnsn irtn ,pwaa nsnai 
>n nw trip ntp f an rmsn isaa ran rfn ,anrm CNDM 

nra snn f iraan naiai nipaa m^a nap nasn nap ^^sn K^a sna 

,aioa mnai ma owa msn^ *inaanV nanp iKn 
nm ,*]T ^?a noiaa parmVi njmn as^a mmn 

na^na i 1 * ^ trn lanaV pa ]an Vr rawn TO *?s?i 

n^iaa onai a^n 1 ? sni 11 ,iV an 
Kin *n*n 'pK'i^a D^^ nxn .TO na&aa ^ nnattn na*rV mns 
^ .naanai n*nna o^awam n^aiaan D^a^n ^KI nK 
^v min nna pjn r^yaa ai snaa ^nVa^ orrnirrnKa 
n KnpV .nnssn^i rhnrh iatr?V Tiaa nnV n^Vn^p tfwa n 7 nan 

na *an nnnn )a o^t^a ^nn in imia BW ^rwa 

n ^K^^ *aa la^nK riK nmn 1 ? ^ pK wrnn m ^n^nnn T ,T^ 
mar Vy larti o^np JKS nr") nrn 1 ? iniK nna* OK WK ,na 
o^aann !?aa tmo pT 1 pT 
'n HKT t^ian ^a ^a roia 



na-r . 





p >JOT 
trann anaa 


Bernhard Felsenthal's Letters to Osias Schorr 


-f\MONG the many interesting items in the Felsenthal 
Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society is the 
correspondence between Bernhard Felsenthal (1822-1908), the 
German-born Chicago Reform Rabbi, and Osias Schorr (1814?- 
1895), tb e great Galician Jewish scholar. 1 The correspondence 
was evidently initiated by Felsenthal 2 in 1875 and continued 
intermittently until 1890. It consists of thirty letters, twenty- two 
by Schorr 3 and eight by Felsenthal. 4 We must also note that 
Felsenthal did not preserve all his correspondence with Schorr. 
For example, on the margin of a letter from Schorr dated May 8, 
1890, he merely noted in German that the above letter had 
been answered on June 19, i8go. s We present herewith, in an 

Dr. Ezra Spicehandler is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew 
Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, 

Rabbi Theodore Wiener is in charge of acquiring and cataloging Hebrew books at 
the Hebrew Union College Library in Cincinnati. 

1 For an analysis of the significance of the Felsenthal collection, see Adolf Kober, 
"Jewish Religious and Cultural Life in America as Reflected in the Felsenthal 
Collection," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, XLV (1955), 
93-127. The problem of the exact date of Schorr's birth is discussed in letter G, 
note 52. In 1897 Felsenthal sent a copy of his correspondence to Nehemiah S. 
Libowitz, who planned to write a book on Schorr. This set is now hi the possession 
of the Jewish section of the New York Public Library. 

* The first letter in the present collection is by Schorr, but he refers to a previous 
letter which was sent by Felsenthal and which dealt with Schorr's article on the 
derivation of the names of rabbis, Hechalutz IX (1873), Part I, 1-83. 

s The Schorr letters, in Hebrew, are in the Hebrew Union College Annual, XXVIII 
(1957), cited hereafter as HUCA. 

4 Not 7 as Kober implies. 

s See also Manuscript No. 29 and the Schorr letters in HUCA, XXVIIL Schorr 
in his correspondence alludes to the following letters which are lost: August II, 



English translation, the major portions of FelsenthaPs eight 
letters to Schorr. 

Osias (Joshua Heschel) Schorr, a leading figure in the second 
generation of the Galician Haskalah^ was associated with 
distinguished Jewish scholars like Isaac Erter, Samuel David 
Luzzatto, Abraham Geiger, Nachman Krochmal, Leopold Zunz, 
Marcus Jost, and Moritz Steinschneider. He was the editor of a 
radical Reformist Hebrew annual, Hechalutz, which appeared 
irregularly from 1851 to 1888. Among the contributors to the 
early volumes of Hechalutz were Abraham Geiger, Isaac Erter, 
Moritz Steinschneider, and Nachman KrochmaPs son, Abraham. 
The Reformist ideas of these early volumes influenced many 
Eastern European maskilim and had a decided effect upon the 
religious views of men like Moses Loeb Lilienblum and Judah 
Loeb Gordon. 

The fact that Hechalutz was circulated in the United States 
among a number of leading Reform rabbis is most significant. 
Eastern European Reformist ideas had a share in the shaping 
of American Reform Judaism, and Hechalutz was one of the 
many links with the Eastern European Reformism. Felsenthal 
acted as Schorr's distributor in the United States. We know 
that Samuel Adler, Benjamin Szold, and Kaufmann Kohler 
subscribed to Hechalutz, as did a number of other rabbis. 6a 

1875; May 15, 1878; November 17, 1878; Purim 1880 and 18 Adar, 1880; February 
14, 1884; April 22, 1884; September 8, 1886; and September n, 1887. 

6 See Joseph Klausner, Hafdstoria Shel Hasifrut Haivrit Hahadasha (2nd ed.; Tel Aviv, 
1953), IV, 56-57. 

6a A list of rabbis in Felsenthal's band appears on the bottom of a postal card 
which Schorr sent to him on August 20, 1879. In all likelihood, it is a list of actual 
or potential subscribers to Hechalvtz, since Schorr specifically requests that Felsenthal 
inform him as to the number of copies of Volume XI which he requires. The names 
listed are: 

Sonneschein [Solomon; see note 39], Gersoni [Henry (1844-1897), Jewish 
Encyclopedia, V, 641], Adler [Liebmann; see note 41], Eliassof [Herman (1849-1918), 
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, IV, 69], Felsenthal [Bernhard], Spitz [Moritz; see 



Adolf Kober has published the most interesting excerpts of 
one of the Felsenthal letters (Letter E) in the original German. 7 
Kober's transcription, however, contains a few errors, which 
for the most part may be attributed to FelsenthaPs unclear 
German hand. Felsenthal's comments on the American Jewish 
scene and his evaluation of his colleagues give us a picture of the 
contemporary rabbinic world. 

Much of the correspondence discusses the problem as to 
whether male proselytes should be circumcised. This was a 
major problem then confronting the American rabbinate. At 
the Philadelphia Conference of Reform rabbis in 1869, a 
lengthy debate ensued on this subject. Isaac M. Wise and 
Samuel Hirsch took the radical position that circumcision was 
not required, while Kaufmann Kohler and David Einhorn 
upheld a more traditional point of view. No final decision was 
made. Although Felsenthal participated in the Philadelphia 
Conference, his opinion on this subject is not recorded. 8 In 
1878, however, Felsenthal was deeply engaged with this prob- 
lem. Contending that circumcision of proselytes was not re- 
quired, he wrote a pamphlet and three articles on the subject. 9 
He sent the pamphlet to Schorr, and an exchange of letters on 
circumcision followed. Schorr published one of his letters to 

note 40], J.[ames] K.[oppel] Gutheim [(1817-1886), Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 
V, 134], Hahn [Aaron, Jewish Encyclopedia, IV, 118], Hirsch [Samuel; see note 
32], Jastrow [Marcus; see note 33], Szold [Benjamin; see note 26], Hiibsch [Adolph; 
see note 23], Gottheil [Gustav; see note 30], S.[amuel] Adler [see note 22], [Max] 
Schlesinger [of Albany], Mayer [Lippman (1841-1904), Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 
VII, 424] (of Pittsburgh), Morais [Sabato (1823-1897), Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 
VII, 638], A.[bram] S.[amuel] Isaacs [(1852-1920), Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 
V, 5951. 
i Kober, 123-26. 

* Protokolle der Rabbiner Conferenz abgehalten zu Philadelphia (New York, 1870), 
pp. 39-41, 61-63. 

* See the bibliography in F,mma Felsenthal, Bernhard Felsenthal, Teacher in Israel 
(New York, 1924), pp. 310-11. 



Felsenthal as an article in Hechalutz (XI [1880], 67-74). At 
the second meeting of the Central Conference of American 
Rabbis, in Baltimore (1891), I0 this question was again discussed 
in great detail. A long paper by Felsenthal was included in the 
minutes of the Conference. J I 

In presenting the Felsenthal-Schorr correspondence we have 
omitted one letter, the last (dated June 6, 1887), because it 
has no historical significance. We have also taken the liberty of 
deleting or abridging many of the parallelisms and euphuisms 
of the flowing Haskalah Hebrew. These appear today to be 
equally outlandish in English and in Hebrew. We express our 
deep thanks to the American Jewish Historical Society, partic- 
ularly Rabbi Isidore S. Meyer, for the many courtesies extended 
to us and for releasing these letters for publication. 


With God's help, Monday, 20 Elul, 5635, according to the 
Jewish Calendar. 

Here in Chicago, September 20, 1875. 
Salutations x 2 

Believe me when I say that for many years my ears have been 
opened to hear the words of wisdom and understanding which 
you have published. As an unabashed disciple, I declare publicly 
that your words are torah and I needs must study them. I 
earnestly pray that you will continue to publish your great and 

10 Centred Conference of American Rabbis Tear Book, II (1892), 66-128. 
**Ibid., pp. 86-95. 

" This word will henceforth signify the deletion of the lengthy, euphuistic greetings 
which opened the Hebrew letters of the period. 



important works of scholarship which are spiritually delighting. 
May He who dwells on high lengthen your days and fill them 
with goodness and well-being, and may He strengthen your 
hands so that you may guard the vineyard of Jewish knowledge, 
plow it, stone it, plant it with good grapes and cause them to 
ripen therein, as Scripture says: "And He shall renew thy 
youth as an eagle." May you broaden Jewish scholarship and 
deepen the knowledge of the Torah so that the glory of Jeshurun 
be made great and mighty in the eyes of our people. 

I was not aware, sir, that the scholar Kirchheim had published 
a criticism of your article in Hechdutz concerning Talmudic 
names. x 3 Where does it appear? I was likewise unaware until 
now that you had published a supplement to Vol. IX as a 
part of Hechalutz. Please do not withhold this supplement from 
me I4 

You have informed me that you are busy at present composing 
the articles intended for the tenth volume. 15 What good news! 
I hope that we shall soon rejoice at the sight of these new articles 
by the wise chalutz [pioneer] 16 to whom no contemporary 
scholar in Israel is equal. Indeed, who can be compared to 
him and who can penetrate so profoundly the depths of the 
Talmud and make its hidden and difficult passages so clear? 
Who is like unto him, who knows how to remove the false and 
mendacious mask from the face of flatterers and to reveal to 
the lovers of true wisdom how mean and despicable is the 
proffered wisdom of those whom the unenlightened and the 

J 3 Schorr's article appeared in Hechalutz IX (1873), Part 1, 1-83, and was reviewed 
by Raphael Kirchheim (1804-1889), the German Jewish scholar, in Hashachar, V 
(1874), 104-109. For biographical data on Kirchheim, see Encyclopaedia Judaica, 
X, 10. 

1 4 Further entreaties are deleted. 

15 The reference is to Hechalutz. 

16 I. e., Schorr. 



uneducated consider to be scholars. Who can bring glory to 
himself by proclaiming bravely within the camp of Israel: 
"My people, your trusted ones mislead you, and your pious 
men destroy your paths and cause you to stumble"? 

Before concluding, may I ask one more favor of you, honored 
sir, namely, please send the undersigned without delay whatever 
books you shall henceforth publish, via the post. I shall not, of 
course, delay paying you for them by postal check or in some 
other manner. 

I am your servant, who admires and honors you for your 
great merit and who beseeches the Almighty to inscribe you in 
the book of good life ---- 



Chicago, 26 February, 1878. 
Greetings to you and to all in your company, honored sir. 

May the work of your hands be blessed with success. You de- 
lighted me with your dear letter of February 5th, which reached 
me today. I therefore shall not delay my answer even one day, 
but thank you for the mark of honor which your letter signifies. 
I was especially happy when I read your lines and learned that 
the small brochure which I sent you (small in size and in 
quality) I7 found favor in your eyes. And now, sir, if you say at 
the opening of the letter which you sent me, "I shall not deny 
that you have not told me anything new," be assured that I 
was aware of this fact even before sending my article to you. 

Who am I to pretend that I am able to say anything new in 
Jewish scholarship to a personage as important and as exalted 

brochure to which Felsenthal refers is %ur Proselytenjrage im Judentkum 
(Chicago, 1878). 



as yourself? Indeed, for many years I have well known that the 
author of Hechalutz (may the Lord preserve and lengthen his 
days and prosper his ways) is in our time the greatest of giants, 
a veritable Sinai and uprooter of mountains. The light of his 
honor shines as the brightness of the firmament, reveals the 
hidden treasures of the sages (may their memories be blessed), 
and casts light on the dark places in the Talmudim [traditional 
expositions of Jewish civil and religious laws] and Midrashim 
[traditional homiletical exegesis of the Bible], Behold, I stand 
before you as a disciple who drinks in your words thirstily. But 
God forbid that I should ever presume to be able to teach you. 
If I sent you a copy of my article immediately after it came off 
the press, I did so, not as a teacher who reveals new facts to 
you, but rather as a pupil who wishes to show his teacher how 
honored and exalted he is in his eyes. 

I read your comments on my article over and over again, 
and I am grateful to you with all my soul for correcting, out of 
the goodness of your heart, a number of errors and for filling in 
certain omissions in my small brochure. I quoted the baraitha 
concerning "A proselyte who was circumcised but not immersed 
etc., 35 as I found it in our Talmud (Tevamoth 46). I confess 
unabashedly that I was unaware until now of the fact that the 
version in the Babylonian Talmud is corrupt, and that the 
correct version appears in the Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin. I 
also confess that the other corrections which you made are right 
and correct. And now I have one request to make of you, and I 
pray you not to refuse it, namely, study my article which 
I published not long ago and, in the eleventh volume oiHechalutz, 
render a just opinion as to its value. Correct whatever is distorted 
in my brochure. Fill in the omissions and straighten it out as 
you see fit, for at least the subject about which I spoke is of 
utmost importance. Let there be criticism; whatever you say 
critically, whether in chastisement or in mercy, shall be for me 



words of pleasure and delight. All your readers will rejoice in 
them as one rejoices over a great find. 

About two weeks ago I sent Professor Graetz in Breslau a 
short note on my article so that he might print the note in his 
journal. 18 I must admit that Graetz does not find favor in my 
eyes because he seems to prefer to accept the impossible and 
reject the possible. He inclines to distort what is straight and 
never ceases heaping distorted conjectures pile upon pile, 
conjectures which flounder wildly in the air and have no 
basis whatever. Nevertheless, what could I do? I wanted to 
place before the European scholars the problem of accepting 
proselytes into Judaism, and where can one do that? Geiger is 
no more. Low is no more. There is hardly a single straight- 
forward man among all the rabbis of Germany who has no 
particular ax to grind. Few are the men of attainments, the men 
of truth. We sorely miss those that are gone ! May the Blessed 
One preserve the lives of those people who still walk the honest 
paths and mount the heights of truth and righteousness. 

And now, I should like to take up another matter. The dear 
present which you sent to me in October, 1875, namely, An 
Answer to the Criticism of Rabbi Kirchheim> * 9 I received, and I 
immediately wrote to you, dear sir, informing you that the 
book arrived and offering you my thanks. From your last letter, 
however, it appears that this letter did not reach you. I regret 
this very much, and I am saddened by the thought that perhaps 
the honored gentleman J. H. S.* in Brody, who has done me 
the honor of sending me this book, would suspect me of bad 
manners and of evilheartedness because I was silent. Please do 

1 8 Monatssckrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums (Krotoschin, 1878), 
XXVII, 236-40. 

x The answer is to part II of Vol. IX (1873) of Heckalutz. 
ao Joshua Heschel Schorr. 


not think so, dear sir. Believe me if I assure you that at that 
time I hastened to answer your letter and often wondered why 
I did not hear from you any more, why even a few lines from 
you no longer reached me. I, on my part, shall willingly 
approach you at any time and shall not neglect to send you a 
letter if I have reason to do so. 

In your last letter you also informed me that the tenth volume 
of Hechalutz has already been published. This was news to me, 
and it was pleasant to hear it. Do not delay sending me a copy, 
sir; I will pay whatever price you specify and shall also distribute 
copies among my acquaintances, selling them to whoever would 
wish to bring such delicacies into their home. Please send me 
six copies, and I shall certainly sell them in my town without 
too much difficulty. I shall do so with a willing heart. If you 
wish, send me ten or twelve copies and I will do whatever I can 
to sell them for you. If you wonder what is the most secure 
method to send the magazines, I really do not know the proper 
answer. Perhaps it is best to send them via the post. 

Hurry, dear sir, and honor me with your answer and fulfill 
my desire with reference to my request concerning the new 
issue of Hechalutz. I fondly hope that you will find these words 
sent by an unimportant man such as myself, who dwells in a 
distant land on the shore of Lake Michigan in the land of 
America, acceptable. Indeed, distance does not prevent me 
from being close to you in ideas and thoughts. 

I am your servant, who honors you and is honored 
with your friendship. . . . 

This issue* 1 also testifies that you still know how to take up 
the whip of satire as you did in earlier years, and to lift it up 

Of Hechalutz. 



against your opponents in such a wonderful way. Who can 
stand before you when you go forth to the battle of Torah and 
wisdom, magnificently clad in the garment of the spirit of satire 
and armed with your sharpened spirit? Who can stand before 
you when you go forth to tread upon the hypocrites, the pietists, 
and the unlearned? 

P. S. You have remarked, sir, that according to the version 
of the bardtha in the Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin III 114, 
"Rabbi Joshua says: c Even immersion prevents. 5 " I do not have 
a copy of the Jerusalem Talmud and therefore, for the time 
being, I do not know if I can base my words on those of Rabbi 
Joshua when I say: "A proselyte who was immersed but was 
not circumcised is nevertheless a proselyte." Is it true that this 
basis is now destroyed? But two generations after R. Joshua, 
Rabbi Judah bar Ilai comes and disputes R. Jose bar Chalafta 
who said: "We require two things, circumcision and immersion. 
But he, R. Judah, requires either one or the other. 3 ' He said, in 
definite and clearly understood words: "One is sufficient" 
(Tevamoth 46b). And now, if R. Judah has decided and said 
that one is sufficient, why shall we now say that even according 
to R. Joshua one is sufficient? Be it as it may, the matter does 
not depend upon the words of any of the Talmudic sages. If 
it is good and useful to receive proselytes without placing the 
sign of the covenant on their flesh, then the enlightened men of 
our day will propose a new halachah [a traditional law] and 
will carry it out, even if the sages of days gone by have unan- 
imously affirmed: "He cannot be a proselyte unless he is cir- 
cumcised and immersed." 




Chicago, March 19, 1878. 
Mr. O. H. Schorr in Brody. 

Dear Sir: 

You probably have received my letter addressed to you about 
three weeks ago. In the meantime, I have written to a number 
of friends and colleagues in different parts of the Union, asking 
them whether they would not like to own Volume 10 ofHechalutz. 
So far I have received twelve orders. One of my colleagues, 
Dr. S. Adler 22 of New York, who owns the first eight volumes 
of your journal, would like me to order the ninth volume, too. 
Three other gentlemen requested me to ask you whether all 
earlier volumes of Hechalutz were still available, and if so, how 
much they would cost. 

I ask you therefore to send me very soon thirteen copies of 
Volume 10 and one copy of Volume 9 of your Hechalutz. I 
would be only too happy to forward the ordered volumes to 
these gentlemen, also to collect the money and send it on to you 
by bill of exchange. I leave it up to you whether you would 
trust me with three copies each of the earlier volumes for resale. 
I think they will be sold soon if the price is not too high. 

And now permit me, dear sir, to come back once more to the 
controversy between Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Eliezer with 
reference to the acceptance of proselytes. Very recently I had 
the opportunity to examine the relevant passages in Jerusalem 
Talmud] Kiddushin (3, 14), also in Gerim (i, 6), and to compare 
them with the baraitha [non-Mishnaic tannaitic tradition] in 

* a Samuel Adler (1809-1891), rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, New York, father 
of Felix Adler. 



Bab[ylonian Talmud] Yevamoth 46. You, dear sir, make order 
out of chaos, since you hold the account in the Babyloniaa 
Talmud to be completely corrupted and accept the reading- 
of the Jerusalem [Talmud] as the correct one. But according 
to my humble opinion there are a few objections against this 
supposition, too. It is plainly apparent, to be sure, that Rabbi 
Eliezer requires circumcision and only circumcision as an in- 
dispensable initiatory rite for the proselyte. His utterances 
referring to this have been handed down to us in three versions: 

a) If he was circumcised but did not immerse himself, then 
behold he is a proselyte (Yevamoth 46a). 

b) A proselyte who was circumcised but did not immerse, 
he is a proper proselyte (ibid., 71 a). 

c) Jerushalmi Kiddushin III, 14: A proselyte who was circum- 
cised but was not immersed, or immersed but not circum- 
cised. The law is determined by the fact of circumcision. 

The only dissonance in this account is the passage in Babylonian 
Yevamoth 46b: 

In the case that he was immersed but not circumcised, 
Rabbi Eliezer does not challenge the fact that the conver- 
sion is not valid. 

How the editor could make such a remark, or what he thought 
about it, I cannot understand. 

Now let us return to Rabbi Joshua. In Babylonian Yevamoth, 
the following sentence is ascribed to him: "If he immersed but 
was not circumcised, behold he is a proselyte." According to 
the explanation of the Gemara [traditional exposition of the 
Mishna] there, he regards immersion as definitely necessary 
for the proselyte: "Immersion is indispensable." Now let us 
compare the Jerushalmi: Rabbi Joshua said: "Even immersion is 

The particle "even," however, means that according to Rabbi 



Joshua both acts, circumcision as well as immersion, are necessary 
prerequisites for the acceptance of proselytes. But how does 
Rabbi Joshua differ with the third party to the controversy, 
the sages, mentioned in Babylonian Tevamoth? And did not 
Rabbi Judah bar Ilai declare himself completely satisfied with 
either circumcision or immersion more than half a century later 
(Tevamoth, ibid.}'? Furthermore, we must take into account that 
Rabbi Joshua was much more easygoing in his practice than 
the more rigorous Rabbi Eliezer, and often accepted into the 
[Jewish] community proselytes who had been harshly rejected 
by Rabbi Eliezer. And how should one assume that he would 
present harder conditions to the proselyte for his acceptance 
than Rabbi Eliezer? 

All these difficulties could be solved easily if one could assume 
that there was a corrupted passage in the Jerushalmi and one 
would emend: "Rabbi Joshua said: 'Only immersion is in- 
dispensable. 3 " That would be in complete harmony with: 
"Immersion and not circumcision is necessary for the pros- 
elyte," and with the still later saying: "One of them would be 
sufficient," as well as with the otherwise well-known character 
of Rabbi Joshua. 

Of course, the substitution of the word only for even (or even 
the meaningless p K, which appears in Massechet Gerim) would 
only be a conjectural emendation, and it should first have to be 
supported by manuscripts or otherwise. But could we hope that 
one might still find somewhere manuscripts of the Jerusalem 
Talmud, except for the well-known one in Leyden? Perhaps, 
if we are lucky, somewhere in a corner of Asia. 

A totally unsuccessful attempt to clear up this matter was 
made by Jac. Naumburg in his Nahalat Taakov on Gerim I 3 6. 

Perhaps, dear sir, you will undertake sometime to transmit 
to the readers of Hechalutz the thread of Ariadne, which leads; 
with certainty out of the labyrinthian confusion. . . . 



With God's help, Chicago, May 20, 1878, according to the 
secular calendar. 

Greetings, dear sir, and a thousand thanks for the letter which 
you sent me on April i4th. I am grateful to you for this state- 
ment, for it enlightens me very much. I consumed the scroll, 
and it was as sweet honey to my mouth. Now I wish to present 
you with certain comments and notes upon your statement. 
There are many deterrents, however, which are all about me 
these days. Various duties have been placed on my shoulders 
and bear heavily upon me; therefore, I am compelled to write 
briefly today. Nevertheless, I hope that in the near future I will 
find time to present before you certain comments which I 
developed as I read your learned article. I have already informed 
you that I have received nine copies of Hechalutz, Vol. 10, not 
ten copies, and today I wish to urge you to send me without 
delay another four copies of Volume 10 and also four copies 
of Vol. 9 via the post, if you have not done so before this postal 
card reaches you. A number of our country's rabbis have 
informed me that they have great difficulty in acquiring Hechalutz 
either through a bookstore or direct from you, dear sir. Rabbi 
Dr. Adler," who at the moment lives in New York City, was 
formerly a rabbi in the city of Alzey, in the state of Rheinhessen. 
Even though he erred when he wrote on R. Eleazar the Greater 
and R. Jose the Minor and Choni Hameaggel (see 1 part 10, 
page 2), he is, nevertheless, one of the few men in our country 
who is really well learned in Torah and in the knowledge of 
Hebrew literature. Among the other learned men are Dr. 
Hubsch in New York, who was the preacher and the spiritual 
leader of the people of Prague in years gone by and who pub- 



lished in the year 1866 "the five scrolls" [Song of Songs, Ruth, 
Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther] with the Syrian Targum 
[translation of biblical books] written in Hebrew script. 2 3 He, 
too, may be considered as one of the superior men in our country. 
Dr. Kohler, 24 about whom you ask me, is a preacher in one of 
the congregations here in Chicago, and he is the author of a 
brochure on the Blessing of Jacob. (This brochure is full of 
many conjectures which flounder wildly in the air and have no 
basis whatsoever.) a s I have no space left and the hour is late, 
and therefore shall conclude. God willing, I shall write a long 
letter to you in the near future. May you receive a blessing as 
you desire and as I, your servant, who am honored by your 
friendship, desire. . . . 


Chicago, July 24, 1878. 

Dear Mr. Schorr: 

The books announced in your good letter of the i6th of last 
month, I received about two weeks ago and immediately sent 
them on. Still I have not collected all the money for them; 
almost a third is still outstanding. I will, however, no longer 
delay sending you the amount due you. The prices for 13 copies 
of Hechalutz, X, at Thaler r.6 gr. (total Thaler 15.18 gr.), and 
4 copies of Hechalutz, IX, at Thaler 1.22 gr. (total Thaler 7), 
add up to Thaler 22.18 gr. or about 68 Mark. I am sending 

*s Adolph Hubsch (1830-1884). The title of his book is Die Junf Megilloih nebst 
dem Syriscken Targum etc. (Prague, 1 866). 

4 Kaufmann Kohler (1843-1926). 
4 s Der Segcn Jacobs, etc. (Berlin, 1867). 



you 75 Mark in order to reimburse you for postage, etc. I was 
unable and unwilling to charge more than $i for Hechalutz, X, 
and $1.50 for Hechalutz, IX. 

Now, please send "[the] Rev. Dr. B. Szold, Baltimore, Md." a6 
who received Hechalutz, IX and X, through me, the earlier 
volumes of Hechalutz (up to and including Vol. 8), or as many 
as you have on hand. Mr. Szold wrote me repeatedly about it. 
I would suggest to you to convey the books directly to Mr. Sz., 
who is an absolutely trustworthy man, and he will certainly let 
you have the amount owed without hesitation. Through this 
direct delivery, unnecessary effort and postage will be saved. 
Should you wish that / collect the money for you, I would be 
happy to do this, too. 

In one of your worthy letters you expressed the wish to learn 
something about local Jewish conditions from me. As far as 
religious life is concerned, the ceremonial practice of our fore- 
fathers has fallen into oblivion completely, especially among the 
younger generation. You meet thousands of young men and 
women who grew up in this country, who do not know what 
tefillin [phylacteries], t&t&t [the fringes of the prayer shawl], 
trefut [ritually forbidden food], shehitah [ritual slaughtering of 
animals], and the like are, and to whom these matters are as 
strange as the customs of the Mohammedans or the Parsees. 
Even those who immigrated at an advanced age soon break 
with the "yoke of the commandments," and those coming from 
Polish lands, some of whom try to hold on to the Shulchan Aruch 
[ritual and legal code of Rabbinic Judaism, dating from the 
sixteenth century G. E.] in practice, are without any influence 
because they completely lack general education. They pass on 
without leaving a trace. Insofar as Jewish life manifests itself 
before the world in temples and synagogues, it is, as you may 

a * Benjamin Szold (1829-1902), rabbi at Oheb Shalom Congregation, Baltimore, 
father of Henrietta Szold. 



well imagine, decidedly reformist. One knows nothing any more 
about Kohanim [priests] and their privileges. Men sit together 
with their wives and children in the synagogue, and with un- 
covered heads. The new prayer books have eliminated every- 
thing referring to sacrifices, Messiah, resurrection, and the 
ingathering of the exiles. A large portion of the prayers is recited 
in either German or English (depending on the circumstances oi 
the individual congregation), etc., etc. In wedding ceremonies, 
also, Reform has spoken its deciding word. Of the five or six 
different new prayer books that have appeared in our country, 
those edited by Einhorn and Jastrow are the best. The latter is 
more traditional in its form; the former (Einhorn' s) has broken 
decisively with tradition, both in its external make-up and 
because it is predominantly German. 

It cannot be denied that Reform has called forth a spirit 
which may be very destructive to American Israel, if it is not 
opposed consciously. I am not speaking about the efforts of a 
small but active party which wants to move the Sabbath to 
Sunday and the like. (As a calm and objective observer of the 
dominant trends, I foresee that after a few decades it will come 
to this point, for the Sabbath has been completely lost to our 
American contemporaries, absorbed as they are in business, 
and it is hardly to be hoped that one can reconquer it.) But I 
am afraid that mixed marriages also will increase, that the 
resultant progeny will be lost to us and will be absorbed as 
single atoms by the Christians sects. For in the intellectual 
world, too, the physical law applies, that larger bodies exert a 
stronger attraction than smaller ones. Just because of higher 
conservative considerations (conservative not in the sense that 
one keeps up individual old customs and usages, but that one 
tries to maintain the House of Israel in its integrity) just 
because of higher conservative considerations, it is imperative 
to be "lenient" in the acceptance of proselytes in the way I 



have suggested, or to be ready to officiate at mixed marriages, if 
the bridal couple promise to raise their children in the religion 
of Judaism. These two measures should present themselves soon 
as compelling to every thinking observer of the life flowing 
about us. 

Scientific accomplishment in the field of Judaism can hardly 
be expected from America at this time. There is no lack of 
textbooks (catechisms. Biblical histories, and the like). But I 
am speaking about truly valuable literary achievements orig- 
inating on American soil. Dr. Einhorn, 27 who officiated in a 
Jewish Reform congregation in [Buda] Pesth [Hungary] at the 
beginning of the fifties, and who has been in America since 
1855, and for the last ten years with a congregation in New 
York, stands out because of his homiletic achievements. His 
sermons, which unfortunately have not been collected, but are 
scattered in pamphlets and in magazines, breathe Isaianic fire 
and are of truly gripping force. E. is not a preacher of nonsense. 
Beside Einhorn, Adler 28 and Hiibsch 29 are in New York; about 
them I wrote you earlier already; furthermore, Gottheil, 3 
former assistant to Holdheim 31 in Berlin and later in Man- 
chester, England; furthermore, a few younger people, unknown 
in wider circles, and a few old ones ignoramuses. Dr. S. 
Hirsch, formerly of Luxemburg, officiates in Philadelphia. It 
is he who published nearly forty years ago a huge volume about 
the religious philosophy of Judaism; 32 furthermore, Jastrow, 35 

3 7 David Einhorn (1809-1879), rabbi in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. 

3 8 See Note 22 above. 

3 See Note 23. 

3 Gustav Gottheil (1827-1903). 

3 1 Samuel Holdheim (1806-1860), rabbi of the Reform congregation in Berlin. 

3* Samuel Hirsch (1815-1889), father of Emil G. Hirsch. The title of the book 
is Die ReligionsphilosopkU der Juden, etc. (Leipzig, 1842). 

33 Marcus Jastrow (1829-1903). 


once a preacher in Warsaw, then in Worms and Mannheim; 
and, finally, an Italian, S. Morais, 34 at the Portuguese con- 
gregation. If we go on to Baltimore, we could mention Szold, 
a good man, not without theological knowledge. 35 In Boston, 
Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, and other places the congregations 
are led by men who in part are quite honorable and well- 
meaning, 3fi but in part must be described as absolute zeros. 
Many younger preachers and rabbis will work themselves up 
to a glorious reputation, I hope. In Cincinnati lives and officiates 
Lilienthal 37 (the Munich cataloguer, mentioned so often by 
Zunz and Steinschneider), who in the beginning of the forties 
played an important role in Russia and was driven from there 
to America; furthermore, Wise (Weiss, 38 born in Bohemia), 
in America since 1845 [1846]. The latter is uncommonly fond 
of writing. For twenty-five years he has published a weekly 
(The Israelite) and has published other things in English, espe- 
cially about New Testament history. Unfortunately, the man 
has no ideas of sound criticism. Among other things, he has had 
the curious idea that Elisha ben Abuya was identical with Paul. 
As ridiculous as this hypothesis is, Wise holds fast to it and 
reverts to it all the time. I might also mention Dr. Sonneschein 3 9 

3<Sabato Morais (1823-1897), one of the founders of the Jewish Theological 
Seminary of America. 

as "... nicht ohne theologische Kenntnisse. . . ." Kober, op. cit., p. 125, has 
"der ohne theologische Kenntnisse ist." I believe that our copy (American Jewish 
Historical Society) of the manuscript is more accurate, thus obviating Note 89 
in Kober. 

3 6 "... die teilweise recht ehrbar und wohlmeinend sind." Kober, p. 125, has * e nicht 
ehrbar und wohlmeinend," obviously misleading. 

3 7 Max Lilienthal (1815-1882); his bibliographical notes on the manuscript in 
the Munich library, published in the Allgemeine %eitomg des Judentkums, had been 
severely criticized by Zunz and Steinschneider. 

8 Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900). 

3 9 Solomon H. Sonneschein (1839-1908). Kober, p. 126, has * e Buchheim," a 



in St. Louis, editor of the Deborah, a German supplement to 
The Israelite. This Mr. S. came over from Prague, where he 
was preacher of a local congregation for a time. Spitz 40 in 
Milwaukee, about whom you asked me, came to America from 
Hungary as a young man ten or twelve years ago. 

Here in Chicago, L.[iebmann] Adler 41 officiates. He is a dear 
old colleague with good theological and sound, clear judgment; 
furthermore, Kohler, 42 a veritable stormer of heaven, who came 
into our cisatlantic world from the university in 1869. You 
know his Blessing of Jacob. A few weeks ago he published The 
Song of Songs, a New Translation with Commentary, a brochure of 
twenty-eight pages, very remarkable because of its daring 
textual corrections, completely arbitrarily taken out of the air. 
K. puts A. Krochmal, 43 Hitzig, 44 Schrader, 45 etc., in the 
deepest shade. He outdoes them all. Perhaps I shall succeed in 
getting a copy for you. 

The American rabbis have in part very good positions and 
enjoy in part very fat perquisites. Others live in more straitened 
circumstances. To the latter class the writer of these lines 
belongs. I can truly say that I am frugal and contented, and 
my heart does not crave riches. But I am very sorry that I have 
to restrict myself in my literary inclinations to an extraordinary 
extent and can acquaint myself with the literary products of 

mistake in reading, as there was no Rabbi Buchheim in St. Louis, as far as we 
know, and Sonneschein was the editor of the Deborah. 

4 Moritz Spitz (1848-1920), later rabbi in St. Louis. 
4* Liebmann Adler (1812-1892). 

4* See Note 8 above. The books referred to are Der Segen Jacobs, etc. (Berlin, 1867) 
and Das Hohe Lied, etc. (New York, 1878). 

43 Abraham Krochmal (1823-1888), a modern Hebrew writer, the son of Nachman 

44 Ferdinand Hitzig (1807-1875), a German Protestant Bible scholar. 

45 Eberhard Schrader (1836-1908), a German Semitic scholar. 



the present time only very sparingly. But I try to help myself 
as best I can. 

Now let me say another word about your highly interesting 
article which you sent me about the attitude of the tannaim 
[mishnaic sages], Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, on the 
question of the acceptance of proselytes. I cannot I do not 
wish to oppose you, the master, with my insignificant remarks. 
What I would have to say would be nothing more than pedantry. 
But I do not want to conceal the general impression which the 
reading of your excellent article made on me. You have made a 
highly ingenious discovery, and you carry on highly ingenious 
researches in detail. But since Rabbi Eliezer is known to us as 
an enemy of the idolaters, Rabbi Joshua, however, as a much 
more tolerant and a milder personality, could it be psycholog- 
ically justified and assumed that Rabbi Eliezer should have 
been more lenient in the acceptance of proselytes than Rabbi 

I hope, by the way, that your article will be presented to the 
world of learning completed and supplemented in the eleventh 
volume of Hechdutz. (For you write in your last letter that you 
could add a good deal.) 

And when (as I hope, very soon) Hechalutz XI will have 
appeared, would you not take care that your friends hear 
something about it by announcements to bookdealers or other- 
wise that a new issue has appeared? If I had not sent you a 
copy of my brochure as a sign of respect last January, I might 
not know even now that a tenth volume of your work is already 

I would like to have your permission to translate your article, 
mentioned above, and to publish it in an American journal in 
which such an article would be welcome and appropriate. Only 
the most meaningless twaddle and the most vulgar gossip are 
published in our Jewish papers. And I hardly believe that any 



editor would have been ready to offer space to an article in 
his journal which would be completely unenjoyable for the 
bulk of his readers. 

I still must allow myself a few remarks about Hechalutz X. 
It is already a few months since I have read this volume, and at 
that time I noted on a small piece of paper something that 
struck me. Now I can not find this piece of paper and, as I 
take up the book again, I can discover only very little, by 
cursory examination, against which I have any objections to 
raise. Only your rare learning, your incisive critique, your new, 
nearly always correct enrichments of Jewish science and dis- 
covery in its field are worthy of the fullest recognition. 

In your article "Balaam, the Evil One, and His Disciples 3 ' it 
seems to me that you carry the idea to the extreme that behind 
the numerical values of the names Balaam, Doeg, Ahithophel, 
other names have been hidden intentionally from the begin- 
ning. 46 When I read this, I remembered how Rappoport, 47 
because of his "gematriot" [cryptographs, usually dealing with 
numerical values of words], eliminated the name of Rabbi 
Eleazar Ha-Kallir from nearly all hispiyjwtim [liturgical poems], 
and how he experienced bitter criticism for it from Eliakim 
Mehlsack 48 in his Sefer Rabiyah. It is true, already in Jesus 5 
time the play with gematriot and the like was known, and you 
are right in your astonishment (p. 95) that Geiger denied this. 
The Bible already knows something similar! Jeremiah, by the 
application of Era n^K, 49 hides, as is well known, the name Babel 

* 6 Hechalutz X (1877), 32-46. According to Schorr, Balaam means Jesus; Doeg, 
Peter; AMthophel^ James; and Geka& 3 Paul. 

41 Solomon Judah L6b Rappoport (1790-1867), a Haskalak scholar. 

* 8 Eliakim Mehlsack (A. G. Samiler) (1780-1854), a Russian Talmudist. 

4* A cryptographic system by which the first letter of the alphabet is replaced by 
the last, and vice versa; the second by the next to the last, and vice versa, etc. 
In this way the words "Babel" and "Kasdim" are substituted by "Sheshach" and 
"Leb-Kamai," respectively, in Jeremiah 25:26; 51:1; and 51:41. 



behind the name Sheshach and the name Kasdim behind the 
name Leb-Kamai. But it is hardly likely that already in 
Talmudic times childish tricks going to such extremes would 
have been performed as in the Middle Ages when, to cite only 
one example among hundreds, one discovered by subtle analysis 
that Ben Sirach had the same numerical value as Jeremiah, the 
name of his supposed father and grandfather (Maharil, begin- 
ning of his Likkutim, and in other places). 

After you (p. 101) give the undoubtedly correct explanation of 
the well-known proverbial application of the name "Shelumiel" 
from Sanhedrin 82b, you quote another explanation given by 
Low for this popular epithet which has become proverbial. 
Against this the following objections may be raised. In the first 
place, Low does not say that the Schlemihl [fool] in the time of 
Meir of Rothenburg was called "Shelumiel." He quotes 
(Lebensalter, p. 376, note 58) Responsum No. 25 to the Hilchoth 
Ishuth of Maimonides, but if one checks the source, one finds 
that the husband's name was Isaac. In the second place, Low 
says in reference to Maharil that Shelumiel lived in Enns in 
the fourteenth century. Low erred. The man he really means 
was called Solomon; "Shelumiel 35 does not occur as a proper 
name in post-Biblical times. The source which Low uses is 
found in a Maharil edition accessible to me, Frankfort, 1687, 
p. 6ib (in Hilchoth Tom Tov), and there it says: "Rabbi Shlomel 
from the city of Enns went once, etc.," that is, Rabbi Shalom 
from Austria, a teacher of Maharil, and so Maharil attests. The 
name "Shlomel" is, however, not identical with Shelumiel, but 
is the old Shelomoh with the usual German diminutive ending 
-/, as one finds such formation of names countless times, but 
especially frequently with Maharil, for instance, Hershel, Berel, 
Leibel, Hirschel, etc. Repeatedly Shlomel is also found in 
Maharil, ed. Frankfort, i58b (in Hilchoth Purirri), also Moshel 
(derived from Moshe), ibid., last page, etc. 



Thirdly, Low claims to have discovered a man by the name 
of Shelumiel, who lived in Safed in the seventeenth century. 
But if one checks more carefully, this man also was called 
Shlomel, from Shelomoh. If I am not mistaken, this man is 
first mentioned in Delmedigo's Ma&ef Lehochmah. This book is 
not available to me. But Hayyim Joseph David Azulai quotes 
it in Shem Hagedolim (ed. Wilna), II, 4, in No. 57, and Azulai 
writes "Shlomoh Shlimel." Furthermore, Leon Modena, in 
the Art Nohem, p. 8 (ed. Furst, Leipzig, 1840), draws upon this 
same source uncovered by Delmedigo. If he has the reading 
Shelumiel, the reason for it may be seen apparently in the fact 
that the Italian did not understand the German form of the 
name Shlomel or Shlimel and corrected it wrongly into 
Shelumiel. . . . 


Chicago, December 2, 1878. 

To the great scholar whose name is renowned in all the ends of 
the earth, my teacher and master, J. H. S., ao peace and blessings. 

Your dear letter dated the i3th of last month reached me 
today, and immediately it came to my hand I hurried and 
wrote to Rabbi B. Szold, 26 who dwells in B., informing him 
that the letter which he sent to you, dear sir, and the postal 
check which was enclosed in it, as well as the books which he 
sent you via the post, were not delivered to you nor seen by 
you, and that, therefore, he should be good enough to send you 
without delay a duplicate check, etc., etc. This was the content 
of my letter to the aforementioned Rabbi S., which I wrote 
and mailed this day. He will undoubtedly rush to do what 


I advised and requested. Rabbi S. is an honorable man, and I 
am sure that he sent the price of [the copies of] Hechalutz to you. 
Perhaps this letter and the books were lost en route, or per- 
haps. . . . Certainly they were lost, and the sender is innocent 
of any ugly or despicable act. We must not even suspect him. 
I am sure that in a few days you will receive another letter from 
the aforementioned rabbi, and everything will be set aright. 
This year's calendar, which you received from New York, was 
mailed to you by the publisher on my order. My article 50 
which appears in it is full of corruptions and printer's errors. 
Do not blame me for this, for I was unable to correct these 
errors since the publisher did not send me the page proofs 
in time. 

Recently I received the November issue of Graetz's monthly 
[Monatsschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschqft des Judentums], and I 
found in it an article by one of the American rabbis, Rabbi S. 
Adler. 22 In this article the aforementioned rabbi presents us 
with a new explanation of the words mimochorat hashabat 
(Leviticus 23:n). SI The following is Rabbi Samuel Adler's 
opinion: The commandment to bring the omer [sheaf] was a 
separate commandment and was not at all connected with the 
Passover holiday. Whoever believes that this commandment 
was connected with Passover is mistaken. The real explanation 
is as follows: After the barley was ready to be reaped, whenever 
it happened, at that point the harvest time (mimochorat hashabat} 
began that is to say, the first day of labor. Throughout the 
country, at the beginning of the harvest, the children of Israel 
brought the first omer of the harvest to the priest, etc. Fifty days 
after the bringing of the omer they would celebrate the holiday 

s We are unable to locate this article. 

s x "Pharisaismus und Sadduc&ismus und ihre differierende Auslegung des mochorat 
hashabat," Monatsschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judcnthums, XXVII 
(1878), 522-28. 



of Shovuoth [Pentecost], This is the explanation of Rabbi 
Samuel Adler. So far I have read the first part of his article 
only, which shall be continued in the following issues. What is 
your opinion, sir, of this explanation? According to my humble 
judgment, one might plausibly accept this opinion or at least 
test it and separate the truth in it from those portions which are 

Above, I designated this interpretation as a "new explana- 
tion, 53 but after further examination I find that it is not a new 
explanation at all. One of the early Karaites whose name is 
Bachtan presented this interpretation concerning the time of 
the harvest to his contemporaries, namely, that if it be reaped 
before the Passover they should count the days from that point. 
His words are quoted in the Sefer Heasor of Rabbi Jacob ben 
Reuben, the Karaite, and also in the Otzar Nechmad of Rabbi 
Jeshuah according to the testimony of the author of the Aderet 
(see the Likkute Kadmoniot of Rabbi Solomon Pinsker, Appendix, 
p. 85). Perhaps even Rabbi Abraham ben Ezra is inclined to 
this opinion and believes it to be the correct one when he 
alludes to the "secret/ 5 according to his well-known manner. 
These are his words in his comment on Leviticus 23:11: "Behold, 
I will tell you a secret, that all the holidays depend upon a 
specific day of the month, and because of the Sefirah [counting], 
which is a commandment, no fixed day for Shovuoth was stated." 
Thus far his words. 

I do not know whether another of our sages has interpreted 
the above-mentioned verses in this manner and not according 
to the halachah. 

My words are many. Forgive me, sir, for having written so 
much. I am your servant, who honors you with all my heart 
and soul. . . . 




Chicago, 10 September, 1879. 
Salutations: 12 

For some time I have been meaning to write to you and to 
inquire as to your health. I was prevented from doing so by 
the thought that I should not disturb the great scholar J. H. S. 
with my superfluous words and my meager gifts. I resolved, 
nevertheless, that when the New Year arrived I would greet, 
as my custom has been for many years, my famous and scholarly 
friend who lives in Brody, and would then inform him that I 
pray for him to the Dweller on High and wish him a happy, 
successful, and prosperous New Year. May he enjoy long years 
of health and peace. Amen. 

And now that the New Year is approaching, I fulfill my 
resolution. I greet you from the bottom of my heart. Let this 
greeting be a sign of my deep love toward you, a love which is 
disinterested and which is as strong as it always has been and 
always shall be. . . . 

Not only do I greet you at the approach of the New Year, 
but I do so for another reason. ... I have discovered that you 
will shortly reach your sixty-third year. My source is the great 
Catalogue of the Bodleian Library of Oxford, edited by the 
scholar Moses [Moritz] Steinschneider. s 2 There I read that 
you were born on the 8th of Tishri, 5677, according to the 
Jewish calendar, or September 30, 1816, according to the Gentile 
count. On the occasion of your birthday I express my thoughts 
to you, O king who rules over all the great scholars of Israel. 

* a Catalogus Librorvm Hebraeorum in Bibliotheca Bodleiana, 2573/7146. Scholars 
disagree as to the date of Schorr's birth. For a discussion of the problem see 
Spicehandlcr*s article on Schorr, HUCA, XXVIII, note 2 to letter 16. 



Would that God grant you to see this day many times, and 
that as you grow old your mind shall grow even more lucid 
and stronger to increase the glory and the might of Israel's 

You have informed me, dear friend, that Volume XI of 
Hechalutz is at the printer's and will soon appear. I yearn to 
drink of your wisdom, for whatever you write is useful and 
correct. I thank you very much for offering me a free copy as a 
token of your esteem. 

I believe that I am able to distribute twelve-fifteen copies of 
Volume XI of Hechalutz, and to sell them at this fixed price. 
Send them to me and I will endeavor to distribute them among 
men who understand and enjoy them. It is self-understood that I 
shall hasten to fulfill your wishes willingly and faithfully. . . . 

I close this letter with a greeting of peace to him who is 
distant and is at the same time near, distant in geography but 
near in thought. 

I am honored and proud of your friendship. . . . 


Rabbi Sabato Morals' Report 

on the Hebrew Education Society 
of Philadelphia 


JLHE FOLLOWING is a copy of an original document, 
a manuscript written by Rabbi Sabato Morais, in the possession 
of Dropsie College, in Philadelphia. Photostats of the manu- 
script were supplied to me by the American Jewish Archives in 
Cincinnati. The report on the Hebrew Education Society of 
Philadelphia comprises pages 33 through 37 in a collection of 
eighty-three pages written by Sabato Morais in an Italian- 
Sephardi Hebrew script which is rather difficult to read. Many 
of the papers are Morais* own letterheads from Livorno. 

The report is the first authentic history of the Philadelphia 
Hebrew Education Society. It is presented as if written by Moses 
Aaron Dropsie, with an addendum by David Sulzberger, but 
there can be no question that the author was Rabbi Morais. 

It was written in Hebrew, some time between 1889 an d 1892. 

* *s j 

In editing the report, I have given a faithful copy of it, and I 
call attention to the following: 

Words letter-spaced and underscored appear in the original 
manuscript above the written line; words letter-spaced within 
parentheses appear this way in the original; words within paren- 

Dr. Menahem G, Glenn is senior editor on the staff of Maurice Jacobs, Inc., 
of Philadelphia, the noted Hebrew printing firm, and is a member of the faculty 
of Gratz College. 



theses indicate that the author had them crossed out; a question 
mark shows that the editor doubts his reading, while words or 
phrases within brackets are the editor's suggested readings for 
lacunae. Ellipses indicate missing words or letters; letter-spaced 
words or phrases indicate that the author had them underlined. 
Words partially vocalized are reproduced as in the original 

ma r TIB^ man nrrtin 11227 

^a p B'aiaai anrpa ama *T V V*rw m rr^ naaaa "pis [Page 1] 

aaV *? iav TOK pna nai n^n ,tnsa -HM pft na^a ja 
ama ^? an 1 ? n^apa nn-n n pt^*? wn 11 a^a&Va 
ax -D avia rn xV Dsi7 an^Vrim anVn 
x 1 ?'! aria p aa rrn an^rs iDen -ra 1 ? 1 ? an^ 

n*in nDK^aa piart nan wann nt *naa taman 
jninn nTisaai ^rsa p^a ns^n map 1 ? amaVnn i^Dr itVi 
oa iKnp" nt^K o^nsoa man manon naxsan TI maun 

TIT s V ix a a T n ^ fc ^^x l ? OK nanaa *IU?K na^Vn 
mwa a^inipn a 1 ? nK mp^nna rn niavrina nsp ^ ,ann anaan 
]a :onnana la^awi na ntr^K ansnan n*r VK ma-npai laan 

aa iTn pi nap a <i wan ia at nc a^aaiwa ia aipa -na^a asa aa ?ra 

nrr mpaian i*?n manaa na^nn "?a asa p 

no* 1 [nsn] ns7T ^a aan^ I'm 'a ^ TX piVna *?xw **& aa 1 ? 
nsnn n^na^ nenn xi2a^ anavn la^nK wpa KI^I n^mpim 
K&nai nai^K K2Ja ^K lanima^ a^ana rK ap maa pra 
ava nK A'waa ptr?Knn -pia av nK*i ana xnpa nra^ pas 1 * atr?a 

1 This is the way Morais spells United States in Hebrew letters. The Hebrew is of 
peculiar usage. See Note 21, below. 



awn to nsan waai lain 2(?> n^i^n aanw? nm aaarca nam 

WK Vaa irvr aa a^aitaa ra pnaaVi lampa imaya ma pp anrfr 

Tnn ise 1 * 1 ? pas* :-mriK lap ntpa a^tmn ^DJD p m IIVP 'Van ,wfcnp 

mrmn minn rra;a rpna^ anas warna nt^K 
nTirr ''n 1 ? n*?^ nVnr?iw iVan WSIK VDI nmwnn nn*n mnan 
*D pm TVian DK mn nwV osnn ^n a^n 
naa ^ KfaaMin) laVa ama^n nVnnn 

mnaon ns?7 ann 

c? a^nnDia-] annaia a^a ^SD a^ttnia 'naa anaVan 
mov (?) rann* ansian pawift tyst^xa tnnV n 
na MK naaon n^ nana 1 ? t nsK rm^ nawa mmm natpai nnann 

nasona :jraiVw nanaa 

-a p aa TO^ Va ania&pa anrarr ^an 1 ? -na^ ira TO 1 * 1 ? Ta^a nan*a 
n*a Axwa nmin ma anvn^ an^aVnn HK -paaVi VITA 
)pnai anaoaV K^annK ^nait ttmft wawa nnca a^aapV 
an Tia^a ^V^Di anaon :(p V a i &) ea^an *?v na^n ^na V 

anpn ptt?? irra 

[Judah Touro: see the translation, below] nais rma 11 yannK nava 
aann ttfrrrma a^iit^ii ]Vn onwy 10 pars; rraa 
i K i *i a * & trnrf? awana 

* Wherever a question mark is placed near a word, it indicates that that word is 
smudged and illegible, and that the reading thereof has been conjectured by the 
sense of the text. 

3 This phrase is based upon the Mishnaic statement: l^n UK nnn osn 
(Tamid $2a; cf. Aboth 2:13), "Who is \vise? He who can foresee that which will 
be born (i. e., the result of an act)." 

* This is the way the text of the document spells the word "rudiments." 

s The year 1847 (if my reading is correct despite the smudge). It is of interest that 
Morais uses the Hebrew letters to designate the general date. 

6 The writer of this document uses the word D'm hi the sense in which it is used in 
the Mishnaic and rabbinic phrase nann man, i. e., "public" or "public place." 
That is, the word o3"i, "many," "majority," is taken to mean "public," hence the 
phrase Dai V&> ne^rr na means a public school. 



anav oral ^m^xp aiaiV *pao wsrawi aima psaa aspa 
rra invrf? pan pin Y'annx * x a snaV 

*?ma ronnx n * a *> a p i K ttrraV onvsn aaiat&a [Page 2] 
:VT a^aana pnatf? '"uwa vna rra* inpaa ma rraa 
p nspi atrn abo nnavn aawa irra 1 ?^ rvnin 1 ? an^a iri^^a 
maaaa VD aa^an TiaVna ^?*n jnpaa Vx maViiwi ,n^x mana 
a^rftpwa aaam nmaoir naaai TW 1 ^ 9 QDnn ntta o^a^a 
aa TO*? p2$na aVapna onVwci oana av "raVV ans; w[ i hp i 
iai an^na nwiDi TwrVa nna mnaa mienaa na 
w a K in^Daa IPK ]ODai niw ^D^nx^sa tr>a 

rra ane laa 1 ? am^ ^i nyaa x 1 ? 

D to tD 11 :^ arx itwa *naK naoa 
aaa n^p ^ *JK ,aanaaw anaaiaa p mnfi < K^ ian^ 
p lan^&na ^^at^a ^ aiaxa ia loxa ^rra^a aaa o^asa p*n 

n^a Vx onaanaa ja*naa ra anaVaa p nsp naa IK a 1 * a 41 
mtn pa 11 K^ ^a onaxa rV oaVab na nt3 iiraa K i a a 

aa D^im ox ^"DX ftia ^xa) a^an ^v Vnxi na^a nn *?x 

61 pa p^baifi) wa^ai *m -na^V na n^n pntr? *a&a DV 

^a ^as 1 ? apa assia TX :aa?7 xa 1 ? 

aa "^an naa 'M nmaa tma^ D^a oito 1 ? am? 

7 Morals treats aim, which is masculine, as if it were in the feminine gender. His 
treatment may have been influenced by the fact that * e street" is feminine in many 
European languages. 

* The editor of this document has placed in parentheses those words which the 
writer crossed out. 

9 osnn here is used in the sense of "the Reverend Mr." 

10 1BHR 1 instead of ianpj or iPHpS "dedicate," or "devote," seems to have been 
preferred by Morais, although the hiphil form, WHp', would be far more justifiable. 

1 r The money promised by the people of New York never did arrive. 
14 See Note 6, above. 


a*np lorwh ET law] law v oyrapam "ins tia 1 * 1 ? rva 

w nsa lattrwi K^OII manaa n&oa ^a as> i 
iaai DTK na aaw iai TOK maipaa aipaa rrn pirn f nta TOT 
wan awia via ia saa tf?i ,inyn *(?) vsaKa pm am p^a 
VDV Vita ^ ,^iaK mn^ Tisnrw na nom mpan n^n s;n 
o mann snaD txinn aipaa wtnjri iina pVi a^ao iVian n*a 
^ Vr Dn:nini D^ nwVa DA opso m^a 1 ? nass? ni^n irn 
trsmn* n t aa t on=) i^a^oM win*? anwsn naiawa noiai pK 

nt a^Diao a^na nw^w n a w aerial n^a) nnap (rmr) 
)D m armirf? xVx iaVa Dma*Va nnan iin 1 ? K 1 ? iia^ 1 ? 'na mo; 

|K pna IT Vapnw nVmn nnann t 

nunp Ta 1 ?^ Viaai pin n^ owm Waa answn "pa^n airs?^ nmaia nt 
mTam la^ipa TMUH "IWK wn pw*?a ni ^ a a wn*&i na 
mann mo; DKTH anoan VK sraaV :^V own ara UTiiaK 1 ? diV) WTK 

iptaa p n niax^a Twrt ^ ,nKta i^a a^w maipaa na^ ^na aw^w 
ran ,i:ra^ ns atmy ma DM m^V "mra ^iss 7i$a 7 a r 

rasa nnnrt? 'aiiT isa *JK oipa iV nna I 1 * roK*?a -na^ wmaaa aa i ma 
nna: D^W D^aciKa nmar aa las; nw^ naK ara jara ,-naaa 
is; wawi ( t? a "7'o *")&) pWKia onca urn 1 ? a /7 onnx 
maim xvaa n TI nnwV vans iman* K*? piaa imxa 
n^ai i^ ^a ^j^a joaa ,a^*n *pVa aa^a anana TK 
a^a xf? nar pw 1 ? na 1 ^ aViK ,D^?wai an ^^?aa D^Tia^V 

anana iw fra rf?y 

13 D*")|, "strangers, 5 * or "sojourners," used by Morals for "immigrants." 

1 4 In the text: na'rnn mnnn, \vith a sign for the transposition of the words, made by 
the author. 

15 p"l$, "a season," "a time," or "a period," is used here to make a play on 
words with 1p"]$V " to remove B*; t^ 16 burden]." 

16 The money is gone! But this phrase is coined on the pattern of iV "]Vn |Vn Dart, 
"the rain is over and gone" (Song of Songs 2;n). 



nnn IPK tram iteo "msm niai rvm a">nnK natpa [Page 3] 

*?!> lan? 1 ! DPS!! 1 ? 8(aw) 103 B^ffl IWn 8f) *? P a fr 

nrnVi rfasa iinozai nona xraaV terra -pi arra^D latzn amVia aipa& 

Vin niaa-n a'a^K nan KiaV TO won BKia nnx vm t 

,jrat6po mmxa amrr rasaa (?) nininnn nnrn 

arm onjn :ni*iDV in^i cnwa aa K*?K / Rni 

mVnpn iVin^n ns ^ K^nK 1 ?^^ Timai ftw OT& 
:^an^Daa nniK nnTttn nnin nK mawV maaVn ^nirnn^i nnV 
wmi TOD Vs? jwwan n vssn mfn* ir^K o^an nnn tmrrcr 

a rrVn pr DIT K*? anan IWK fixn owai 
^nna o&ia ^ns ^57 on^nK n*&pn WK nnx ID ^y 
rrrr 1 nna 7n tei an^an <am&a) wv pa^ aniwa *sns to 
nan ^D ,nD^ in n^ao -JD to n^s? 1 * anan -)>oa ^ la^ai K 1 ? aVia :pKrt 
tea WP np^awv amn^n n^Dn n^x *i^ aanrr 
arnp pnv ra n^a amrrn pawu :nVn anaia vonnn 

^^a// ainaV t^oin nasan imitan t^n i w & a 

1 7 Based upon a portion of the verse Deuteronomy 31:17, nnsn nun mjn 
* e and many evils and troubles shall come upon them." 

18 Selaoama**ihc Slavic countries. 

** Here Morais employs a phrase which is based upon Numbers 25:18, D'Tll* 3 
on'^DH DD^ on, "for they harass you, by their wiles." He takes the word Q'l^, 
"enemies," to be the Russian czars by similarity of sound: tsar = ^x. The dots over 
the word nnxn are in the text of the document. 

is an Anglicism: "to feel" = "to mind," that is, "to take care," "to pay 
attention to," "to minister to." 

3 x The Leeser reference is from a book by I. Daniel Rupp, History of All the Religious 
Denominations in the United States (Harrisburg, Pa., 1848). It may be that Leeser took 
his reference from the first edition of the book, published in 1844. This first edition, 
with a different title, is described in A. S. W. Roscnbach, An American Bibliography, 
etc. (Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, Vol. XXX), p. 397, No. 549. 
There may have been later editions, possibly one for the year 1866. 



vam a*&VK *w rn 22*7ir Tripaiaa Tnanaa I^D VKW as? to Teoa araa 
awi aatp TOK a^wi a^aa* lamajaa awaH pawm wasn ,niK 
*jVK awiKa atoraft isoaa aVy ^IDI apron mianai irftapa 

n*w T^aa UDina iar"Tia nV VD ijntfrpo nianxa rrVu 

Vn rnian ^ a^oia a^anaa aa^anan aaw 
ant ^r nt^K nan a^asna DDK nrra arra ^a nx laaiDn^ ana 
^ lanima laa 1 ? aar K^a :anan^ ^ t mrf 

awaxa nx 2sa-its;a rnmn TIKI wanVKa ^pn n anaw 
aanan Vx ]n wHipM ^nr nina trwa :anw&aa ]n DD-UQ ]n 
orna la^an^ an naa mw^ K^X ons ^apV ma ^ K 1 

iiTa as> a^aaiwa anA snn 26/^nK n^nn iis? 
v nri at or ixsaa nniaK WTBK OKI pir ran naa ns naaa 
pai ra^iK iiaarwn 1 ? D^IDO oneo pa iKaa 11 arm :arrra 

^n 1 ?^ ^w naa f n a o in a i T a i p o 
ara naaa -jina taa^ aaip Vw aaoai naias 
crw nnaa ma; ntrK THK wi /smwa pt^Ki ara nnVn anV 1 ia 
miaV *ra% taK iisn ) a in a T T a p atra anpam a x/ snnx 
man n^a^D a^s; iaia7 *>wn na^n n^a nnaa nawa nan 'ri^^a 


aa Peculiar, literal Hebrew for "the states which are joined together" [United 
States]; see above, Note I. 

*3 A phrase found in Isaiah 46:6, DTJD anr D'Vrn, "that lavish gold out of the bag." 

a * This was the way in which Morais avoided writing the Holy Name Q'n^K: 
instead of mutilating it by writing D'p!?, he cleverly used the letter 1 for the n, 
merely omitting the tiny left-hand stroke. 

a s The word hi the document has a double r?, one of which was crossed out by the 

36 This word was shortened: 'irm instead of mn, a usual rabbinic way of writing* 

7 The original ]'^ ipy nymw n i o V seems to be an obvious lapsus calami. 
It is possible that m was written for mK, "cubits," "yards," or perhaps 1 J? 
and n l N o are superfluous. It cannot be 314 miles I It may simply mean an area 
of between three and four square miles, which is more likely. 



Tan ^OIITW isoa 1 ? mpaa -is *D D*i&xa D'annatf tf * tf?ix [Page 4] 
vrxa sp * T v *nxn nx aas*?i scpT x*? paVo nmatom waVi 

run ana&n nana :onn na^a *naa n t n i p a a a'atpva nx owaaa 

vr i&a WK nrac pVi ,maraa aiana rnsra&xa ox ^ in; 
na :ait?n tnsi p^en 1 ? pn wi 1 ? maanV nsnna rw mro nnx *]tyaa n 
iw na^a inan^ n>?na moan ^K yxh rra mro^ its?>5 ^?aa an 
mwinnv iaw ^ vto ipVm OT3fl naxn) rn nap p^i la 
mpcon nnr ^ >sncn VK aatwran irsinV naaan 

am *naa mpa mann nsa rm&m ^an *IHK :ian i&o oaipa 
mpna :nnn nna ni^a ram ^K oa awr 1 ? Dmn:^a rma 
n nan usa 1 * iai nnaon 'Tia VDI -na^n ^na *?s isoK 1 * 

ia -raV 1 ? onua ^a oipa mi a^ana D rmVi an&o ia f a p *? 
f man n^a irm iKa Tisan nai usa 11 a^i ^mapa 1 ? jn anatV )n T 
maKten na^ mbiaa a^nnn 1 ? irn imma :D^aK^ fnian n^ai 
2. . * ,ninVi ania mw^ na ni^snn nan^a paa mapa^ 

larran "nan T^n ^r naiaaa aina^ Vt^a -JIT 

nr :nra 

nanaaia *?a ,11^73 f tmpa nna^an niaxb'an Vy ^^oinV ^aia c n 
nx onn 1 ? ^tmn nrin mViaa nannn anr ntpx pa 
ia parr 1 nt^K pa 07^ lanaaa :pna 'nnTK^ iaTv is; 

rmn ^n ia*?a min i| i ia3ip3 nt^K nan "msn* ia 
laanpa nt^x nan :vVr naa aioa 
pa maan 1 ? xin jam *n ^ *?D pv 1 ? nxn? 
swr 1 ? T-nn iniiDa naa 1 ' "itz^x plan :nxtn mxisan x 
WT n^Di o^xan nnn 1 ? oVis? nar 1 ? ijw |rrV urai nt^x maion 

a * It seems to mean ''tailoring." 

a Only the letters 1 3 ' o are recognizable; they seem to stand for iro'a, "in our 
days" or "in our times," i. e., "modem." 

nsn for n'na nyx 


ran nxy* Vxntp a#a *WK tzrx aVa miftp (mi&:s) 

namru minn nisa na*a 

pn in 

rrriiT ia in ritca sniso xa ptwnn tfnan ariD *poa [Page 5] 
maw cnn nt^s; a^aw *|aa ntt?wty na mann Vv Kinn iDion Taa ia 
ainna paan ^Daa I^K nmt a nttiKi ,n^ann 'wit irr isoxn: ntz^K ptra 
nn^m an^n ^n 1 ? at? rr?w n^V n^a pnsnn n^^awi 
oan nana is?o^ QDHH man nt^K an&on "o nm ,in mpa 
IK Ttt&nn Vy IK n^snn V in nwim Vs; DK aa^ na 

nnrj a^&Va rrn ntz?K 32taia ^im ^w parra ^D nsn ,pasn pa to 
01 .anrV iV vii *osn7 pna* na nt^a T *? xain nta pan ianp 
01 ^n^Vn D^S^K nntyr DST^D mmvn aima pian *IDD)? n^ap. 
^w pnart pw ra^nV nw tea ]n^a nnifrit n^an wan ^t 

arrnnw mjj 1 pa 1 ? 
iaoa ^DI .mj? 11 isa^iara puiia "isff arai 


3 1 -USD, "a tale," used by Morals for a secretary's ("ISID) report. 

^ 3 Daniel Cans was a member of the clothing firm of Cans, Lebennan & Co., 
of Third and Market Sts., Philadelphia, and was very active in Jewish communal 
affairs. See Henry S. Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia (1894), pp. 268, 312. 

3 3 Thus far I have been unable to identify these two children. Were they, too, of 
the Gans family? 

34 For the identification of Morris Newburger, see Morais, op. cit., pp. 178, 191, 

3 s Here the page, which is much shorter *ha" the other four in the number of its 
written lines, is very defective, and breaks off at the beginning of the word tit? 
(Lo), evidently standing for "Locust Street." 



[Page i] 




The necessity of training Jewish children through teachers 
competent and well-versed in general studies, and particularly in 
teaching the Hebrew tongue, was an urgent matter to which the 
members of our congregations had long paid close attention. In 
the past, however, a knowledge of the Hebrew tongue used to be 
gained, for the most part, from teachers who would come into 
private homes to instruct the children, while the pupils them- 
selves understood very little of what [their teachers] had to 
teach them; and the teachers 5 pay for their work was also very 
little, insufficient to support them. Consequently, [the teachers] 
had to engage in other work in order to support themselves, 
and the pupils were [, therefore,] unable to acquire a proper 
knowledge of the Hebrew tongue and of the commandments of 
the Torah. In addition to all that has been said above, there were 
many faults to be found with the books which the children 
studied in the public schools, whether those books had been 
composed as textbooks or for private purposes [i. e., literary 
works]; for some of the ideas [found in those books] estranged 
their readers from the Mosaic Law and brought them nearer to 
the Christian religion in which their authors believed. 

This was precisely the status of education among our people 
who lived here about fifty years ago, and a similar condition pre- 
vailed among all our brethren in the United States. The Jews at 
that time complained because their children were growing up 
ignorant of the foundations of the divine religion and its laws, 
and vainly did our Jewish brethren seek a remedy for this evil. 
At that time, however, there arose a man among men to show 
us how we could find healing and a remedy. That man, Isaac 


Leeser, is suitably and properly to be called the first guide, 
leading the people in the path of righteousness. With a great love 
that was dependent on no [financial] consideration, and with a 
willing spirit, he labored, more than all his predecessors and 
even more perhaps than all his successors, to strengthen the 
Hebrew religion in our midst and to uphold the hands of its 
adherents. Isaac Leeser untied a tightly bound knot which 
others had despaired of loosing, when he organized the above- 
mentioned society, which seems to have been the very first in 
the whole United States to undertake the instruction of Jewish 
children in the knowledge of the commandments of the living 
God, The Reverend Mr. Leeser saw, long beforehand, what 
the future would bring; for, regarding it as insufficient for 
our children to have only a rudimentary knowledge [of Jewish 
subjects], he determined to add to those studies some knowledge 
of literature, philosophy, and [other] secular subjects which are 
taught in the schools according to required and fixed rules. 

On March 7, 1847, the [Hebrew Education] Society was 
founded, and on April 7th of the following year a charter was 
granted to it by the Pennsylvania State Legislature. That 
charter authorized the establishment not only of a school to 
educate children who were minors, but also of a college to ordain 
students as rabbis in Israel. The first school for small children 
was opened on April 7, 1851, and was organized like all the 
public schools. The books and the methods of instruction were 
the equivalents [of those of the public schools], although in our 
school the holy tongue [Hebrew] was to be taught, as well as 
Latin, French, and German. 

In the year 1853, Judah Zuntz [Judah Zuntz died in 1829; 
Morals must have meant Judah Touro, who died in January, 
1854. Ed.]) having been prevailed upon by the Reverend Mr, 
Leeser, left a bequest of $20,000 to aid the good work. This 
money was received on February 5, 1854, and was used to 


purchase the building on Seventh Street near Callowhill Street. 
By May 28, 1854, the building was ready for use as a school. 

[Page 2] 

On October 28, 1867, studies were commenced in the academy 
called Maimonides College in memory of the RaMBaM, may his 
memory be a blessing. Its aim was to offer its students good 
instruction in the entire Hebrew language and, to some extent, 
in the languages cognate thereto; and combined with [instruction 
in] Bible and Talmud were to be all the branches of learning nec- 
essary for modern rabbis. The Reverend Mr. Leeser, the Rever- 
end Mr. [Marcus] Jastrow, the Reverend Mr. [Aaron S.] Bettel- 
heim, and Sabato Morais devoted their time to teaching there, 
gratis, and their labors were gladly accepted by their people. The 
expenses incurred from the studies and from the students 5 main- 
tenance were, however, more than our brethren in Philadelphia 
could bear. Also, the money which the people of New York 
had promised to send us was never forthcoming and, conse- 
quently, to our sorrow, the college closed after a few years. 
The children's school, to be sure, maintained its vigor and did 
not fall short of the best [schools] in the state, despite the fact 
that some of our people who were held to be wise, but were wise 
only in their own estimate, despised it and argued that on its 
account we had been set apart from the general community 
and were considered a sect in ourselves. The truth was, however, 
that the school was open to all, Jews and non-Jews alike, and 
that some of its teachers were non-Jews. Those who opposed the 
school adduced another reason in its disfavor and claimed that, 
despite their suitable preparation, the pupils would be denied 
permission to proceed from there to the public high schools, 
since only public school students would be admitted there. 
A petition was then presented to the Pennsylvania Legislature, 
and permission to place our school on the same level as the public 


schools was granted. [Since that was] something not granted to 
any other school, the opposition was effectively silenced. 

About the year 1877, a large number of people from the 
Russian lands came here and settled in the northeastern side of 
this city. The site was far from the sections where most people 
lived, and some three and a quarter miles from the center of 
the city. Nor were any residences and business places of our 
brethren to be found there. The neighborhood was in poor 
condition and lacked decent living facilities, but since it was 
possible to rent a house cheaply in the area, the immigrants 
chose to live there. When the Society heard that our brethren 
had settled there, it assumed the obligation of supplying their 
educational needs and of helping them to adjust to their new 
social and cultural conditions. On December 28, 1879, ** 
acquired three adjacent houses in the neighborhood and there 
established schools not only to educate the children academically, 
but also to teach them such manual trades as sewing and 
weaving [embroidery?], etc., for girls, and cigar making and 
carpentry, etc., for boys. The Society had hoped to obtain out- 
side help, but the frustration of its hopes obliged it to forego 
general education for the children, and to confine itself to the 
teaching of Hebrew reading, of translation into the vernacular, 
and of the history of our ancestors from the time they became a 
nation. In order to achieve this aim, the Society established three 
schools in different sections of this city, but the vocational 
training school, which has remained in the northeastern part 
of our city, is still active and "yields fruit after its kind/' The 
Society, moreover, extended [its program of] vocational training 
by setting up a place for it on the south side of our city. In the 
meantime, the Society's director, after conducting its activities 
in various capacities, was elected its first president in the year 
1862, and served until 1871. At that time his own personal 
needs no longer allowed him to bear that burden, and he was 


forced to remove it from his shoulders. Then the Society became 
increasingly impoverished. Its funds were depleted, and the 
school for the general education of children was closed down. 
The teaching of the Hebrew language, however, did not cease, 
and was not to be suspended, as long as the Society existed. 

[Page 3] 

In the year 1882, our brethren who were subject to the 
Russian government suffered many evils and troubles. Thou- 
sands [of them] fled (from there) for their lives and abandoned 
all their possessions or they were expelled from their birth- 
places and directed their steps towards our country to find 
shelter and a refuge, and to be free under its protection. And it 
happened, after their arrival, that thousands and tens of thou- 
sands continued to come here, and their numbers increased until 
Jews from the Slavic lands that is, from Russia, Roumania, 
and Hungary were to be found in growing numbers not only 
in the large cities but in the smaller towns as well. Those immi- 
grants were received with friendliness, especially in Philadelphia, 
for here the congregations strove to treat them kindly and to 
encourage people to hate the enemies who were oppressing 
them with their wiles. The number of these Jews who came to 
us in their poverty imposed a heavier burden on their brethren 
who were already settled here. For the latter had to give the 
newcomers proper guidance in study and in the social mores of 
the country with which, having been born among inane and 
unstable peoples, the immigrants were unfamiliar. After attend- 
ing, therefore, to [the immigrants'] physical needs, their brethren 
assumed the responsibility of ministering also to their spiritual 
needs, so that they might achieve their goal (purpose), and so 
that each one of them might become like the native-born. We 
never imagined that the number of the immigrants would grow 
to what it is now, for the Reverend Mr. Leeser, who was better 


acquainted than anyone else with the Jews in America, wrote 
as follows in an article in the year 1844 or 1848: "The Jews in 
New York City number about 10,000 souls." In the same article, 
he added that "in Philadelphia there are three congregations 
amounting to fifteen or eighteen hundred [persons]." It seems 
to us that the entire Jewish population in America at that time 
numbered twenty-five hundred [?]; 3<s but now, according to our 
reckoning, counting men and women whose names were re- 
corded in the congregations, charitable organizations, etc., the 
number in Philadelphia alone would actually exceed 40,000, 
half of them born in the Slavic lands. All these have settled 
among us during the past twelve years, and their increased 
needs have to be supplied by the educational and charitable 
societies. Even if some of them are self-supporting, there are few 
who open their purses to help others ! 

Our hearts rejoice, indeed, to see that the Jewish congrega- 
tions observe God's statutes and His Torah by helping the needy 
and by showing kindness to the immigrants, both physically 
and spiritually. Jewish women devoted their time for this pur- 
pose, not for the sake of receiving a reward, but to gratify our 
Creator by befriending His creatures. Yet another benefit is 
conferred on the immigrants who reside here in our city, because 
they do not find it necessary to crowd themselves into a narrow 
district, as [is the case] in New York; for, though there are many 
groups [of immigrants], there is still [sufficient] space between 
them. Most of them are to be found between Spruce Street and 
Washington Avenue and between Second and Broad Streets, 
a district of three hundred fourteen miles from north to south 
and a mile from east to west [sic I]. Within this district there are 

a fi Morals' figure of 2,500 Jews for the year 1866 is absurdly low. According to 
The American Jewish Tear Book: 5665 (Philadelphia, 1904), p. 306, M. A. Berk 
estimated the Jewish population of the United States at 50,000 in 1848. In 1866, 
it must have been much more. In all probability the author meant 250,000. 



to be found Sunday schools for boys and girls, another [school] 
founded by the Women's Society [Young Women's Union] in 
the year 1885 and called the Kindergarten, and still another 
[school] to teach girls baking and cooking under the supervision 
of the Education Society, which we have often mentioned in this 

[Page 4] 

Some, however, complain[ed] that the place [was] too crowded 
for the constantly increasing numbers and for the needs of the 
students who attend[ed] those schools and who might be harmed 
by the air which, with its poisonous gases, afflicts the inhab- 
itants of that area. The writer of this report sought aid, but 
found it only through the above-mentioned Society. Conse- 
quently, after he had withdrawn from [his office in] it for eleven 
years, he was willing to be re-elected president, [if] only to 
demonstrate his good will. What he desired to do with all his 
heart in order to reach [his] goal seemed impossible of achieve- 
ment to his associates, and so his friends rose up in opposition 
to him because they were convinced that the expenses necessarily 
attendant on his plan would prevent its execution. Now, how- 
ever, all the doubts which they harbored have totally ceased. 
After [much] toil and trouble, the Society has found a decent 
location, spacious in area, brightly lit, and comprising many 
rooms with a seating capacity of fifteen hundred boys and girls. 
All the classes and reading rooms are to be gathered together in 
those quarters, and there is also to be a special section for a 
library and a public lecture hall, as well as a large place to 
teach both men and women the manual trades. There will be 
something else there that is very necessary a bathhouse for 
women and a bathhouse for men. It is our intention to expand 
the scope of the vocational training [program], especially for 
women; for example, a course in sewing for the designing and . . . 


making of clothing, and also [courses in] various occupations 
invented in our times on the subject of writing, for example, 
typing, stenography, etc. By the use of steam, moreover, we 
shall be able to add to the trades already taught. Our aim, in 
short, is to establish a building which will extend the limits of 
human knowledge, raising the immigrants from their low 
estate so that they may become the equals of the native-born 
of the country. Our aim is to erect a structure in which the 
immigrant in our midst may take pleasure and pride and by 
which he may be inspired to thank God, may He be blessed, 
and his Hebrew brethren for the abundance of goodness show- 
ered upon him. The immigrant in our midst will be willing, and 
will desire, to be improved and to show to all that he deserves 
to be numbered among free men, born in this glorious republic. 
By paving the way to the achievement of the benefits which we 
have mentioned, the building to be erected will remain as an 
everlasting reminder to coming generations, and all of them will 
know and believe that love of one's fellow men lies in the heart 
of every man called a Jew, and that in truth he fulfills the 
commandment of the Torah, "And thou shalt love thy neighbor 
as thyself." 

Chief Director of the Society. 

[Page 5] 

At the conclusion of the Chief Director's report, there is an 
additional report by David bar Judah Sulzberger, in which that 
secretary of the Society gives an account of what was done during 
the twelve months which elapsed since the [last] time the mem- 
bers met. He [Sulzberger] relates that after the building on 
Seventh Street was sold, the school which had been housed 
there for the education of boys and girls in Hebrew was removed 
elsewhere. Also that the books bequeathed as a gift by the 



Reverend Mr. Leeser were properly arranged according to their 
subject matter, Bible or prayers or Talmud or history, and a list 
of the number of books on each subject was prepared. Also, that 
the bequest of Daniel Gans, which had been held in trust by his. 
relative Aaron Gans, was turned over to Moses bar Aaron, 
Dropsie, who became its trustee. And that the Society received 
almost Si 0,000 from the sale of the building on Seventh Street, 
and that the five-dollar award given annually to a competent 
student in memory of two deceased children, Norman and 
Courtney, was given as usual. Also, that Morris Newburger 
donated $100 so that from the interest thereof an award should 
be purchased for the Kindergarten, to be called the Morton 
Newburger Award. And that the number of boys and girls in 
the three Hebrew schools exceeds one hundred, and that in the 
vocational training school which is on Lo.fcust] Street . . . 


The Role of Wolf Schur 

as Hebraist and Zionist 



IKE coming of Wolf [Zev] Schur to the United 
States in 1888 presaged a period of growth and development 
on the American Hebrew literary scene. After the modest 
activity of the 1870*8, there followed some years of decline and 
standstill. Schur was followed here by Ephraim Deinard and 
Michael L. Rodkinson, who also were active in behalf of Hebrew 
letters. The close of the i88o's, therefore, marks a turning point 
in the formative period of American Hebrew writing. 

Schur, who was born in the 1 840*8 in Lithuania, 1 played a 
special role as a pioneer of the American Hebrew press. He was 
an ardent propagandist on behalf of the Hibbat Zion ["Love of 
Zion"] movement and, with the advent of Theodor Herzl, 
of political Zionism as well. His writing was characterized by a 
zeal for the cause of the East European immigrant, whom he 
sought to aid and defend against his detractors. He championed 
his views with fervor in his weekly publications, Ha-Pisgah and 

Rabbi Jacob Kabakoff is Dean of the Institute of Jewish Studies of the Bureau of 
Jewish Education in Cleveland, Ohio. 

* According to most biographical sources, Schur was born in Outian, near Kovno, 
Lithuania, in 1840. In The American Jewish Tear Book: 5665 (1904-1905), p. 183, 
however, Schur's birth date is given as October 27, 1844. See A. R. Malachi's 
introduction to the section of Schur's letters in his Igrot Sofrim (1932), pp. 84-87, 
and B. Z. Eisenstadt's Hakhmt Tisrael ba'Amerika (1903), pp. 103-4. 



Ha-Tehiyah, which he maintained at great personal sacrifice, 
and gave literary form to his ideas in his volume, Nezah Tisrael 
("The Eternity of Israel," 1896). 

Schur achieved a position of some stature in this country 
because he already had a considerable reputation when he 
appeared on the literary scene. He had been a regular contrib- 
utor to Peretz Smolenskin's Ha-Shahar and Judah Loeb Kantor's 
Ha-Tom, to Ha-Melitz, and to other publications. His book, 
Mahazot Ha-Hqyim ("Scenes of Life," 1884), describing his 
travels in the Orient, had been favorably received. He had also 
edited the volume, Massaot Shlomo ("Travels of Solomon," 
1887), by Solomon Rinman. Despite these successes, Schur was 
constantly in financial straits. In 1882 he moved to Vienna, 
where he tried to make a living by writing. 2 Later he sought 
to go to Palestine as the secretary of Kalman Zev Wissotzky, 
but when this plan fell through he decided to emigrate to this 

In New York Schur obtained some support among the group 
of maskilim. Westernized East European Jewish intellectuals, 
who were largely members of the lower and middle classes. 
He found a circle of readers who followed the European Hebrew 
press, and to them he dedicated his Hebrew weekly, Ha-Pisgah. 
Happy that Schur had come, the mashilim rallied around his 
journal, which carried the English masthead: "The Summit, 
the only Hebrew literary weekly in America for the purpose of 
promoting the knowledge of the ancient Hebrew language 
among the Jews." 3 

* See Schur's letters to J. J. Weisberg, published by Malachi in Igrot So/rim, pp. 
88-100, and to Srnolenskin and Kantor, published by Baruch Rubinstein in his 
article, "L'Zikhro Shel Zev Wolf Schur," Bitzaron, IV (1953), 437-41. Schur 
informed Weisberg as early as March 1 1, 1886, of his intention of going to America. 

3 Hillel Malachovrsky, who had preceded Schur to America, writes in his memoirs: 
"How happy I was . . . when I heard that a group of Hebrew writers had arrived 
in New York my friend Wolf Schur, Ephraim Deinard and Michael Rodkinson, 



In his initial editorial in the opening issue of Ha-Pisgah, which 
appeared in New York on September 14, 1888, Schur stated 
that he wished to unite the various groups in American Jewry 
through the medium of the Hebrew language. He spoke also of 
the need to "arouse the national feeling" and remained faithful 
to the spirit of Hibbat Zion. But his hope of finding enough 
support to continue the regular publication of his journal was 
shattered, and he had to cease publication after the thirteenth 

In the twelfth issue of Ha-Pisgah, dated December 21, 1888, 
Schur announced the formation of a committee to aid his 
journal. Among the members were some of the leading rabbis 
and maskilim in New York, men like Alexander Kohut, Bernard 
Drachman, Leopold Zinsler, Pinkhos Minkovsky, Judah David 
Eisenstein, H. Pereira Mendes, and others. Despite this imposing 
list, Schur was able to publish only one additional issue during 
the first year. 4 

In the first volume of Ha-Pisgah a number of Schur's central 
ideas were underscored. He dwelt on the neglect to which the 
East European immigrants had been abandoned and on the 
need for improving their lot. He stressed the importance of 
fostering the Hebrew language and establishing "Hebrew lan- 
guage societies/* which should include also laborers. In Zionist 
activity he saw a means of combating assimilation and Reform, 
which he attacked at every opportunity. 

and each with the ambition to be a Hebrew editor. Wolf Schur was the first with 
Ha-Pisgah, and I immediately sent him an article which was printed in the second 
issue." See KitoS Hillel ben %ev Mdachowsky, II (1940), 60-61. 

4 Attempts to issue journals were made at that time also by Deinard and Rod- 
kinson. Deinard started his weekly, Ha-Leumi, on December 14, 1888, and pub- 
lished twenty-three numbers. Rodkinson started his Ha-Kol even later, on February 
9, 1899, first as a biweekly and then as a weekly, and published nineteen numbers. 
Both attempts failed for lack of support. Their literary level was inferior to that of 
Ha-Pisgah , whose editor was by far the best of the group. 



Despite his unsuccessful effort and the short-lived journalistic 
attempts of Deinard and Rodkinson which followed, Schur did 
not abandon the idea of renewing his publication. He traveled 
to various cities in order to muster the support of the Hebrew 
readers. In a letter to Hillel Malachowsky, from St. Louis on 
April 10, 1889, Schur informed him of his intention of settling 
in Cincinnati, where he felt that there were prospects for pub- 
lishing his paper. s 

Finally, however, Schur returned to New York where, on 
March 21, 1890, more than a year after his first effort, he 
began to issue the second volume of his journal. In the leading 
article he pleaded with his readers to spread the knowledge of 
Hebrew, for "if the young generation will not understand at 
least what is written in our Scriptures, then our people and 
Judaism will surely fall. 55 He castigated those who said: "What 
need have we at the end of the nineteenth century for the dead 
Hebrew language, especially in America? In crossing the great 
ocean which divides the old and new worlds, we have shaken 
off all the preconceived ideas which we acquired there." Schur 
appealed to his readers to answer his call and pay in advance 
the subscription fee of sixty-five cents for a quarter of a year, 
so that he could continue publishing his journal. 6 

During the years 1890 to 1892, Ha-Pisgah was practically the 
only Hebrew periodical in America, and thus it achieved some 
measure of success. 7 Nevertheless, the editor often had to leave 

5 Igrot Sofrim, p. 103. 

6 Even so staunch a supporter of Schur as Moshe Falk Mervis of Baltimore voiced 
his skepticism in Ha^Melit^ No. 72 (1890), as to the prospects of Schur's success. 
He wrote: "I doubt if in our city two or three people have fulfilled his request to 
send him hi advance the subscription fee of sixty-five cents for a quarter of a year, 
even though we did all we could for him." 

7 In 1891, Rodkinson issued his Ha-Sanegor, first as a biweekly and then as a 
weekly. Nine numbers appeared. The weekly Ha-Ibri did not appear until April 
II, 1892. 



New York on trips to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and 
Pittsburgh in order to obtain subscriptions for his journal. In 
the hope that he could strengthen his publication, Schur entered 
into a partnership with Kasriel Zvi Sarasohn, publisher of the 
Tidishe Ga&tn. The partnership, however, lasted only nine 
weeks. Schur published his journal for another two months 
but found it necessary to move to Baltimore where, beginning 
with the thirty-eighth issue, dated January i, 1891, he continued 
publication. For a time he edited the Yiddish weekly Der 
Israelit, which he also dedicated to the Zionist idea. 

Following a difference of opinion with his printer, Moshe 
Silberman, who published also Der Israeli^ Schur obtained 
Hebrew type from New York, with the help of the Hovev6 
Zion ["Lovers of Zion"] Society, and started his own printing 
shop. He began issuing Ha-Pisgah on his own, on August 12, 
1892, in a double format of eight pages, instead of four, as 
heretofore. He set the type himself, and with the aid of his wife 
dispatched the weekly issues to his subscribers. It was a constant 
struggle to keep the publication going because the approximately 
one thousand subscribers were never punctual in paying for 
their subscriptions. 

Schur made an effort not only to rally the Hovevg Zion 
groups in America around his journal, but also to maintain 
contact with the European societies. In his pamphlet, Sefer 
^ikhronot %ion (Baltimore, 1893, pp. 15-16), David Panitz, who 
was then still in London, tells how he helped obtain subscriptions 
for Ha-Pisgah) after Schur had written to him complaining of 
the lack of support in America. Panitz reprinted Schur's letters 
containing appeals for help, stating that about forty copies were 
circulated weekly, thus "helping the Palestine idea in some 

The publication of Ha-Pisgah became even more difficult for 
Schur when he began to feel the pinch of competition from the 



weekly Ha-Ibri, published by Sarasohn and edited by Gerson 
Rosenzweig. In an unpublished letter to Deinard, dated October 
5, 1892, Schur suggested a plan for joint action to finance the 
publication of a Zionist periodical in Hebrew and in Yiddish. 8 
He felt that if they could obtain the backing of the Hovev6 Zion 
societies and of various individuals, sufficient funds might be 
raised for this purpose. The editing, Schur thought, could be 
done by Deinard and himself, with the help of the poet, 
Menahem Mendel Dolitzky. 

After publishing in Baltimore for almost two years, Schur 
moved to Boston where, on January 22, 1893, ke resumed 
publication of Ha-Pisgah. Only six issues had appeared when 
the periodical was again suspended. It was not until 1897 that 
publication was again resumed in Chicago. Writing to 
Ha-Melitz on May 31, 1893, Schur expressed regret over the 
cessation of his periodical, and stated that he hoped not only 
to resume publication soon, but also perhaps to publish a 
Yiddish weekly in order to spread the Zionist idea. From 
Boston, Schur moved to St. Louis, where he set up a printing 
shop and began his activities as the corresponding secretary of 
the Zionist group, Agudat Achim. In 1895, he published a 
pamphlet containing a Yiddish address, entitled Tisha V Ab 
(bearing also the English title: "The Mourning Day of Israel"), 
which he had delivered before that group. 

Finally, Schur settled in Chicago, the last stop in his life of 
travail and wandering. During the years 1896-1897, his reports 
from America on events of both general and Jewish interest 
appeared in Ha-Melitz and in Ha-efirah. In Chicago, where he 
maintained his own printing shop, he completed the writing of 
his book, Nezah Yisrael, which appeared under his own imprint. 

8 I have made use of nine unpublished Hebrew letters, written by Schur to Deinard 
during the years 1891 to 1901, from the collection of the Library of the Jewish 
Theological Seminary of America, New York. 



Schur never ceased to seek an opportunity to renew his 
journal. In his letters to Moshe Falk Mervis during 1896-1 897,* 
and to Hillel Malachowsky and Zvi Hirsch Masliansky during 
1897, 10 he constantly referred to his plans for Ha-Pisgak. After 
the publication of his book, Schur traveled to various cities in 
order to sell it and to get support for his journal. Some of the 
maskilim, particularly Masliansky, wanted Schur to join forces 
with Rosenzweig, the editor of Ha-Ibri, but because of his long- 
standing feud with Sarasohn, the publisher, Schur refused to 
consider any such rapprochement. 

After much indecision, Schur, on August 5, 1897, informed 
Malachowsky that he would renew publication in Chicago. He 
was counting not only on the support of readers in various 
cities, but also on that of prominent European Hebrew writers 
who had promised contributions to his journal. For want of 
any other means of support, Schur began the publication of the 
fifth volume of Ha-Pisgah on October 22, 1897, after an interval 
of four and a half years. 

During the days of the augmented Zionist activity that 
followed the First Zionist Congress, Schur made his journal a 
forum for the new Zionism. He was still unable, however, to 
eke out a living from his journal. He continued to seek support 
from Europe, and got a number of noted writers to contribute. 
Among them were: Micah Joseph Berdichewsky, Joseph 
Klausner, Elhanan Loeb Levinsky, and Judah Loeb Levine 
(Yehalel). Among the earlier contributors there had been 
Reuben Brainin and Saul Tchernichowsky, whose first pub- 
lished poem, entitled Ba-Halomi, appeared in Ha-Pisgah on 
December 9, 1892. 

9 Moshe Falk Mervis, "Mikhtev6 Zev Wolf Schur/' Ha-Olam (1936), pp. 363-64, 

10 Igrot Sofrim, pp, 107-8, 121-22, 



Schur was always careful not to arouse the ire of the Russian 
censor so that he could continue to send his journal overseas. 
Because Ha-Pisgah had been banned, Schur, in order to cir- 
cumvent the censor, changed the name of his journal after the 
close of the sixth volume to Ha-Tehiyah and was careful not to 
mention the old name. An unpublished letter to Deinard, dated 
January 3, 1898, makes it clear that even earlier Schur had 
printed about 150 copies of his journal under the new name for 
circulation in Russia. Ha-Tehiyah appeared from October 20, 
1899, to November 2, 1900, for fifty-three consecutive issues. 

In the summer of 1900, Schur became paralyzed after his 
return from the Fourth Zionist Congress which he had attended 
as a delegate. Forced to cease publication and to suspend his 
literary and Zionist activities, he remained a lonely and forlorn 
figure during his last years. We get a glimpse of his condition 
from an unpublished note to Deinard, dated February 23, 1901, 
which was apparently written for him. The note says: 

It is more than four months since I have been stricken by paralysis. 

I am unable to write a single word or letter, and all my writing is 
done by others. I therefore had to cease publishing Ha-Tehiyah, and 
this is also the reason why I did not reply to your letter. 

Few people remembered the role that Schur had played in 
furthering Zionism and Hebraism in America. The members of 
the Hebrew Ohal'e Shem ["Tents of Shem"] Society collected a 
few dollars for him at the instance of Philip Turberg, secretary 
of the group, who had also been among the contributors to 
Ha-Tehiyah.** The Chicago Hebraists tried to raise a fund in 
order to set up a business which could support Schur. x a 

II See the report of the Ohal6 Shem Society, Ha-Modia La-Hodashim y I (1901), I2O. 

13 See Gerson Rosenzweig, "Hashkafah Klalit," Ha-Ibri, IX (1901), issue of June 7. 
Masliansky wrote in his memoirs that Bernhard Felsenthal had been in touch with 
him several times concerning Schur. See Kitvt Masliansky, III (1929), 175. 



The Hebrew press disclosed little information concerning 
Schur's last years. Berdichewsky, who had contributed to 
Ha-Pisgah, was the only one to complain in Ha-^efirah (1904) 
that Schur had been forgotten. I3 Schur suffered for nine years, 
and died on January 10, 1910, from blood poisoning after an 
operation. In America he was eulogized only by Joseph Selig 
Click of Pittsburgh in his Yiddish weekly, Folksfreind.* 4 A 
necrology filled with bitterness against the Chicago Hebraists 
for neglecting Schur was published by Isaac Suwalsky in his 
London weekly, Ha-Tehudi.* 5 Funeral arrangements for Schur 
were made by his friend Moshe Newman, who also composed 
the verses which appear on his tombstone. 16 Thus ended the 
life and struggles of one of the remarkable pioneers of Zionism 
and Hebraism in America. 


One of the few books of the i Sgo's that has a place in the history 
of American Hebrew letters and that is largely the product of 
its time and place is Schur's Nezah Tisrael (Chicago, 1896). 
The aim of the author was to prove that "the Jewish people 
is an eternal people by virtue of its Torah, which is eternal 
because its source is divine and is based on understanding, 
happiness, and justice." He set out to combat the danger of 
missionary activity from without, and, from within, the danger 
of socialists, anarchists, and Reform Rabbis whom he looked 
upon as assimilationists. 

*a His article, which was entitled "Zikhron 1'Rishonim/* was reprinted in his 
Bisdch Sefer, I (1921), 28-29. 

1 * Joseph Selig Click's Hebrew dirge is reprinted in his volume, Omer PTe&g 
(Pittsburgh, 1914), p. 8. 

J s Ha-Yehudi, XIV (1910), issue of February 14. 

16 "L'Zekher Zev Wolf Schur," Hadoar, XV (1935), issue of December 6. 



The book is largely devoted to an exposition of Judaism and 
of its superiority over Christianity and the other religions. In 
the final chapters the author turns his attention to internal 
problems, including anti-Semitism, Reform, and Zionism, and 
expounds his views in a nationalistic vein which clearly bears 
the influence of Peretz Smolenskin. There is, moreover, some 
similarity between Schur's views and those of Asher Ginzberg 
(Ahad Ha-am), even though Schur and Ginzberg are not 
always in agreement. In his Zionist thinking Schur became an 
avid disciple of Herzl and, with minor exceptions, a firm believer 
in the views expressed in HerzPs Jewish State. 

Schur informed his readers in the opening issue of the second 
volume of Ha-Pisgah that he intended to publish his book on 
Judaism. In a leading article, dated May 19, 1890, he stated 
that he had revived his journal in order to answer effectively 
the arguments of the assimilationists. At the same time, he 
stressed that this could not be fully done within the confines 
of a periodical and that a more systematic exposition in book 
form was required. In a footnote he added: "I have such a 
book in manuscript, and it is entitled Nezah Tisrael. In our next 
issue I will inform the readers of its contents, and I hope that it 
will soon go to press." 

Schur did not return to the subject of his book until a later 
date. In an editorial in the issue of July 25, 1890, he gave his 
impressions of a trip to various communities and recounted with 
horror his meetings in Rochester with maskilim who had taken 
up socialist and anarchist ideas and who negated religion and 
Jewish nationalism. In order to demonstrate that their anti- 
religious arguments were groundless, Schur began the publica- 
tion of a chapter entitled "The Torah of Moses and the Proph- 
ets," in which he set out to show the rational basis for the belief 
in God and for the biblical laws. This chapter, with various 
additions by the author, was later incorporated into Nezah TisraeL 



As a supplement to the chapter, Schur published part of the 
introduction to his book in order more fully to explain its pur- 
pose. He stated that he had written the book in answer to the 
host of sincere Christians who invited the Jews to accept their 
faith, as well as to refute the arguments of the assimilationists. 
He was especially aroused, on the one hand, by the Christian 
Hebraist Franz Delitzsch's missionary pamphlet, Ernste Fragen 
an die gebildete judische Religion ("Serious Questions to Educated 
Members of the Jewish Religion"), published in Leipzig in 
1888, and, on the other hand, by Baron Maurice de Hirsch's 
views in favor of assimilation as the Baron had expressed them 
in a newspaper interview. Schur also stressed that, in order to 
influence the Jewish nonbelievers, he had adopted a rational 
approach and had endeavored to show that Judaism was based 
not only on faith, but also on "understanding and knowledge,, 
righteousness and justice." 

An additional motive led to the publication of the book: 
the propaganda of the Reverend Mr. William A. Blackstone on 
behalf of the persecuted Russian Jews. Blackstone's proposal to 
convene an international conference to consider the "condition 
of the Israelites and their claims to Palestine," which was 
incorporated in a memorial to President Benjamin Harrison on 
March 5, 1891, had more than a humanitarian basis. Blackstone 
believed that the return of the Jews to Palestine would serve 
as a harbinger of the second coming of the Messiah, and this 
was the motivating reason for his Zionist activity. 1 7 

When word was received of the Reverend Mr. Blackstone's 
project, Schur was among those who greeted it enthusiastically. 
He devoted an editorial to it and made his own Hebrew transla- 
tion of the memorial to the President. But before long he 

1 7 A copy of the memorial to President Benjamin Harrison is included in the 
Reverend Mr. William A. Blackstone's book, Jesus Is Coming (1908; available also 
in a Hebrew translation). 



became aware of the missionary aspects of the project, and 
declared that the settlement of Palestine was a national matter 
and not necessarily a religious one. He then informed his readers 
of his decision to publish the first three chapters of his book, 
dealing with Christianity and its relation to Judaism. This, he 
felt, would unmask the motives of those Christian friends of 
the Jews who sought to convert the latter, and would serve as a 
rebuttal to the arguments of the missionaries. 

Following a rationalistic approach, Schur endeavored to 
show that the biblical laws were based on logic and that even 
the Jewish concepts of God and revelation were grounded in 
reason. He adduced the Sabbath and labor laws as outstanding 
examples of the lofty ethical teachings of Judaism. By following 
such a line of thought, the author sought to win back those 
who had strayed into socialism. 

The question of Reform is dealt with in the chapter "Shall We 
Remove the Old in Favor of the New?" In this chapter, drawn 
from an article, similarly entitled and published previously in 
Ha-Pisgah, Schur maintained that no agreement could be 
reached on the question until "we succeeded in establishing in 
Zion a spiritual and material center and in building there an 
academy for the study of both Torah and general wisdom. " l8 
He felt that while there was room for reforms, only a Sanhedrin 
of rabbis from all over the world could effect them. Owing, 
however, to the differences which divided the rabbis, this was 
unfeasible for the present. The needed reforms could come, 
therefore, only from an academy in Zion whose rabbinical 
graduates would be acceptable to Jews the world over. 

x * Schur reiterated this idea editorially in Ha-Pisgah (August 15, 1893), and called 
upon Orthodox Jewry to work for a "religious center" which would consist of a 
seminary for rabbis and teachers in Jerusalem. He felt, however, that the Orthodox 
Jews would not respond to his appeal, and therefore urged the HovevS Zion 
Societies to take the initiative in raising funds for this purpose. 


At the end of the above chapter, Schur touched upon Ahad 
Ha-am's views on Reform as expressed in his essay, Dibrt Shalom 
("Words of Peace," 1895). Schur sharply criticized Ahad Ha- 
am's differentiation between "reform of religion and development 
of religion. 53 To Schur's mind, if reform was a denial of the faith, 
it mattered little whether it was called "reform" or "devel- 
opment." He himself saw the need for reform, but because 
there were none to effect it, "we must wait until the homeland 
is rebuilt." 19 

Schur's views on the "mission of Israel," on which he had 
also touched previously in a leading article in his journal, are 
outlined in the concluding chapter of his work. He pointed 
out that anti-Semitism existed not only in Europe, but that it 
had also struck root in predominantly Christian America. Logic 
dictated that "we can find rest only in a country of which we 
could justly demand that it open its gates to us. And only Zion 
shall be redeemed with justice, for it is the inheritance of our 
fathers" (p. 265). Another reason which he gave for Zionism 
was that it would enable the Jews to "remain faithful to our 
religion and to fulfill the mission of our prophets." 

At the close of his analysis of the status of the Jews and the 
Zionist movement, Schur gives an enthusiastic account of 
HerzPs program in the Jewish State. Although he had been an 
adherent of the Hibbat Zion movement, he was able to appre- 
ciate the tremendous advances made by the concept of political 
Zionism. Yet, while accepting HerzPs ideas wholeheartedly, 
Schur did point to a number of flaws in the Jewish State. Among 
these flaws Schur counted Herzl's failure to list the Hebrew 
language as a unifying factor for world Jewry. Schur disagreed, 
moreover, with Herzl's contention that agriculture should be 

x * Schur also took Ahad Ha-am to task for his criticism of the First Zionist Con- 
gress. See his article in Ha-Pisgah, V (1897), issues of December 3rd and I oth. 



secondary to commerce and industry. Nor did he approve of 
the fact that religion was neglected and that no provision was 
made for a Sanhedrin. Despite these flaws, Schur upheld HerzPs 
essential program against its critics in the assimilationist camp. 
Schur summarized his views on the "mission of Israel" in the 
following words: 

If Israel has a mission, then it is to try to return to the land of its 
fathers as its own master and to establish the Torah of Moses and 
widen its laws in accordance with present-day conditions. This will 
also bring about a solution to the social question . . , for the Torah of 
Moses is basically and fundamentally social ... (p. 272). 

Schur envisioned still another duty for the future Jewish 
state: it was to serve as a medium through which the Jewish 
people could transmit Western ideas to the people of the East, 
just as previously it had brought the wisdom of the East to the 

Upon the publication of Nezah Tisrael, there appeared in 
Ha-Ibri, 20 which continued publication during the close-down 
of Ha-Pisgah, a "Call to All Lovers of Hebrew" concerning the 
book. The "call/ 5 which was signed by Adolph M. Radin, 
second vice president of the Ohale Shem Society, appealed to 
the readers to purchase the book and to support a fellow 

A favorable review of the book was published by Simon 
Bernfeld in Ha-Shiloah, 2 x but as one who held moderate Zionist 
views, Bernfeld could not support Schur' s suggestion that 
Palestine be acquired with justice from Turkey. Nor could he 
concur in Schur's enthusiasm for HerzPs program. Rabbi 
Joseph H. Hertz had words of praise for Schur's efforts in the 
American Hebrew,* 2 and spoke of the book as "one which deserves 

20 Ha-Pisgak, April 2, 1897. 

21 Ha-Shiloah, I, 569-75. 

22 American Hebrew, LXI (1897), issue of September 24th. 



to rank with the very best productions of the Jewish genius 
during the last quarter century." Among others who valued 
Schur's work were Mordecai Zev [Max] Raisin 23 and Bernard 
Drachman, who translated a specimen selection, on "The 
Sanitary Aspects of the Mosaic Legislation/ 5 a4 from the book. 


Among the important sources for the history of Hibbat Zion 
and the beginnings of political Zionism in America are Schur's 
Hebrew weeklies Ha-Pisgah and Ha-Tehiyah. They contain much 
information on the activities of the various Zionist societies and 
on the problems which occupied the attention of their members 
during the iSgo's and at the beginning of the twentieth century. 
After the advent of Herzl and the First Zionist Congress, many 
of the Zionist groups came to consider Ha-Pisgah as the "official 
Zionist organ. 55 

Schur was among the dedicated servants of the Zionist ideal 
in America. His place as "one of the most important workers 55 in 
early American Zionism was recognized by Nahum Sokolow. 2 s 
In Europe, Schur had been a friend of Hermann Schapira 
and had been close to Smolenskin, and after settling here he 
maintained contact with the heads of the Hibbat Zion move- 
ment and later with Herzl and Max Nordau. He was among 
those who agitated for American representation at the First 
Zionist Congress in Basel. 

*3 See Mordecai Zev [Max] Raisin's article, "Sefat Eber v'Sifrutah ba'Amerika," 
Ha-Shiloah, VIII (1901-1902), reprinted in his Dappim mi-Pinkaso Shel Rabbi (New 
York, 1941). See also Mi-Sefer Hayai (New York, 1956), pp. 8-9. 

a * In Neo-Hebraic Literature in America, Appendix to the Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial 
Convention of the Jewish Theological Seminary Association (1900), pp. 81-82, 134-37. 

a s See Nahum Sokolow's Hibbath %ion (London, 1935), p. 29. 



When Schur arrived in America in 1888, he found in New 
York an active Hovev6 Zion Society, which had been working 
for the support of the settlements and the acquisition of land 
in Palestine since 1884. Schur appealed to this group to aid 
him in his journalistic venture, and the committee which he 
had formed for Ha-Pisgah in December, 1888, was made up 
largely of its active members. In his memoirs, Benjamin L. 
Gordon recalls a meeting of the society which he attended in 
1890 and at which Schur "spent most of the evening on the 
rostrum outlining plans for the promotion of Hebrew." 2fi 

Schur urged the Hoveve Zion groups to take on a wider 
program of activities. Upon receiving a letter from Zalmon D. 
Levontin, founder of the Palestinian settlement Petah Tikvah, 
suggesting the establishment of a commercial house in Palestine, 
Schur brought the full text of the communication to the attention 
of the societies. 3 7 At every opportunity he urged greater support 
of Hebrew and of a Hebrew organ of expression. We cannot 
determine how much aid he received, but on several occasions 
he expressed his thanks to the groups in New York, Boston, 
Baltimore, and elsewhere for their help. 

The pages of Ha-Pisgah reflected the issues which preoccupied 
the American Hovev6 Zion. In 1890 the Hovev6 Zion Society 
of New York was preparing to purchase some land in Palestine 
in order to establish a settlement. The Society, headed by Adam 
Rosenberg, urged the groups in other cities to participate in the 
purchase, and announced that it had already sent a sum of 
money to Paris for this purpose. 28 A proposal by the Society 
to send a delegation to Palestine met with the disapproval of 

36 See Benjamin L. Gordon, Between Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Physician (New 
York, 1952), pp. 146-47- 

a ? Ha-Pisgah, II (1890), issue of May 9th. 
a8 Ha-Pisgah, II (1890), issue of August 7th. 


many Hovev6 Zion members, but Schur was among those who 
lent his support to the idea. 

When Schur moved to Baltimore, he continued his Zionist 
agitation by urging continually that land be purchased and 
the Tishuv [the Jewish community in Palestine] strengthened. 
Shortly after the founding of the Shavg Zion ["Returners to 
Zion"] Society in New York in 1891, he wrote a glowing 
editorial about the prospects of this first American society for 
settlement in Palestine. Ha-Pisgak regularly reported on the activ- 
ities of the Shav6 Zion, which soon established a second group. 2 * 

We learn about Schur 9 s energetic efforts on behalf of Zionism 
in Baltimore from such local men as Moshe Falk Mervis 30 and 
David Panitz. The latter, in his pamphlet on Zionism, wrote 
that he found in Baltimore, on his arrival there in 1894, a 
society called the Hevrat Zion. As Panitz said, however, "the 
national idea was not unknown in Baltimore even prior to 
the founding of Hevrat Zion, for the Zionist writer Schur 
published in Baltimore the journal Ha-Pisgah. When the pub- 
lisher of the Yiddish Israelit in Baltimore invited Schur to edit it, 
the spirit of Ha-Pisgah rested also upon the Israelit" 

Even before the founding of the Hevrat Zion, an attempt 
was made in Baltimore to establish there a branch of Shav6 
Zion No. 2, and Schur worked to accomplish this. The New 
York society was headed by Moses Mintz and Ephraim Deinard, 
and Schur helped them to arrange an initial meeting in Bal- 
timore. Among those who attended this meeting was Benjamin 
Szold, who later was the first speaker to address the new group. 
Despite Schur's prodding, however, the group did not last very 

*s> A. R. Malachi, "Shave Zion," Hadoar, XVII (1937)- 

5 See Mervis, "L'Toldot ha-Zionut v'ha-Tenuah ha-Ivrit b'Baltiinore," Hadoar, 

XXII (1942). 



In Baltimore, Schur aided in the sale of Palestinian etrogim 
[citrons], a project of the New York Hovev6 Zion. In Schur's 
unpublished letters to Deinard during the early part of 1892, 
we find various details concerning the sale of etrogim in Baltimore. 
Schur gave space in his journal to advertisements on the sale 
of Palestinian etrogim, and attacked the use of etrogim from 
Corfu. 3I He constantly stressed the need for the support of the 
farmers of Palestine. In his letters to Deinard, he urged that 
the New York Hovev6 Zion unite against the Yiddish publisher 
Sarasohn and his son because of their equivocal stand on Hibbat 

Schur constantly pointed to the role of Palestine as a center 
for world Jewry. In an editorial, published on May 14, 1891, 
he stated that while it was not feasible to bring all of suffering 
Jewry to Palestine, the Jewish communities the world over 
should consider themselves as "limbs of the body in the Holy 
Land. . . . The more strength the body will have, the more 
it will draw the limbs to itself. 35 In other articles he further 
developed the idea of Zion as a religious center. 

From Mordecai Ben Hillel Hakohen's letter addressed to the 
American Hovev6 Zion through Ha-Pisgah, 3 2 it is evident that 
the European Zionists viewed Schur' s journal as the organ and 
address of the movement in America. The author of the letter, 
a prominent Hebrew publicist, was keen enough to voice the 
opinion that even were Palestine to become the spiritual center 
of the Jews, their material center would still remain where the 
masses were; in America. He urged the American Hovev6 Zion 
to support the Zionist executive in Jaffa in its plan to establish 
an agricultural school. 

* x The chief opponent of the use of Corfu etrogim was Deinard, whose pamphlet, 
Milhamah la-Shem ba-Amcdek (1893), is devoted to this question. 

32 Ha-Pisgah, III (1891), issue of August 7th. The letter is reprinted in the author's 
Me-Erev Ad Erev (Vilna, 1904), I, 295-99. 



The Zionist leaders in Vienna also turned to the "great Hovev6 
Zion" spokesman Schur to give prominence to their call con- 
cerning the founding of a Zionist executive in that city. Schur 
published the call, signed by Reuben Brainin, Nathan Birn- 
baum, and others, and editorially urged the Hovev6 Zion 
groups in New York, Boston, and Chicago to act favorably 
upon it. 33 After the First Zionist Congress, European Zionists 
often approached Schur. Herzl himself wrote him from time to 
time, asking for help in gaining American support for his 

An indication of Schur's Zionist views in the years that 
preceded Herzlian Zionism is to be found in his published 
Yiddish address, Tisha VAb^ wherein he analyzed the status of 
the Jewish people and attributed its national decline to the 
weakening of Jewish observance, on the one hand, and to the 
desire on the part of assimilationists and reformists to ape the 
Christians, on the other. He urged his listeners to meet the 
threat of anti-Semitism in America by means of Zionist activity 
and by the gradual redemption of the Holy Land through 
settlement. At a time when Zionism was limited to small circles 
of devotees, Schur was among those who called for the 
intensification of the movement. 

When Herzl's Jewish State appeared, Schur was without a 
journalistic platform of his own. However, because of Herzl's 
request that he urge the American Hovev6 Zion to send delegates 
to the First Zionist Congress, he published an article on this 
subject in Ha-Ibri, on April 30, 1897, under the title, "The 
Progress of European Zionism. 33 He addressed himself partic- 
ularly to the Hevrat Zion in Baltimore and the Ohale Shem in 
New York, and asked them for assurances in sending delegates. 
He argued that it would be a disgrace for the American Hovev6 

33 Ha-Pisgah, III (1892), issue of January Qth. 



Zion if no delegates were to go. 3 4 In his letters to Mervis of 
Baltimore, he urged him time and again to aid this cause, and 
expressed his own readiness to go as a delegate. The Baltimore 
Zionists finally decided to send Rabbi Schepsel Schaffer, the 
chairman of the local Hoveve Zion Society. Actually the only 
formal delegate from America, 35 Rabbi Schaffer was joined by 
Adam Rosenberg and by Rosa Sonneschein of St. Louis. Schur 
was dissatisfied with the choice of Schaffer, and wrote Mervis 
that he was prepared to go to Basel for half the sum which 
the trip would cost the Baltimore Hovev6 Zion. 

Schur also published a second article in Ha~Ibri, under the 
title, "Dr. Guedemann's Nationalistic Judaism" (vol. VII, pp. 
34-36, June 4 and 13, 1897), in which he attacked Moritz 
Guedemann, the Chief Rabbi of Vienna, as an anti-Zionist 
and summarized HerzFs answer to him. In the latter part of 
this article Schur also criticized the anti-Zionist stand of the 
Reform theologian Kaufmann Kohler, who was at the time 
rabbi of Temple Beth-El in New York. In contradistinction to 
the pro-Zionist Reform rabbi, Bernhard Felsenthal of Chicago, 
Rabbi Kohler had written against Herzl and Zionism in the 
American Hebrew. 

The propaganda for the First Zionist Congress brought new 
life to Zionist activity in the United States. Schur responded to 
this quickening of the Zionist pulse by reviving Ha-Pisgah in 
October, 1897. A more vibrant note was sounded by him in 
his editorials and in his numerous surveys of Zionist activity, 
both here and abroad. Ha-Pisgah became once again the semi- 
official organ of the various Zionist societies, which supplied 

3< On the reaction of the American Zionists to the First Zionist Congress and 
Schur's activity, see A. R. Malachi, "Zion6 Amerika ba-Gongress ha-Rishon," 
Hadoar, XXVI (1946). 

35 See David Panitz, Sefer %ikkronot Zion> pp. 51-52. 


the journal with news of their activities and gave it financial 

The new spirit in American Zionism and the role of Ha-Pisgah 
in furthering it were stressed by Mordecai Zev [Max] Raisin 
in his article, "Zionist Observations." 3 6 "In America, too," 
Raisin wrote, "there is a Zionist movement. Here, too, we have 
Jews in whom the national feeling has not died. . . . The ap- 
pearance of Ha-Pisgah now is a sign of new life in our national 
literature in America. . . . The publication of Ha-Pisgah now is 
timely indeed, for the lack of a basic Zionist organ is deeply 
felt in the ranks of American Zionists." 

In response to HerzPs appeal, Schur informed Herzl that he 
had visited a number of cities and had helped organize Zionist 
societies. 36a In Chicago he helped bring about the establishment 
of a society dedicated to political Zionism, with Bernard Horwich 
as president. In his memoirs, Horwich relates that Schur was 
among those who urged him to undertake the task. 3 7 The full 
name of the organization, which Horwich claimed to be "the 
first organized Zionist group in America," was "The Chicago 
Zionist Organization No. i." 38 An outgrowth of this organiza- 
tion was the Order Knights of Zion, founded in 1898. 

3$ Ha-Pisgah, V (1897), issue of October 29th. 

3 to I have recently obtained, from the Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, four letters 
from Schur to Herzl dating from before the First Zionist Congress. In these letters 
Schur stressed the need for a Zionist organ in America, and described his activities 
in behalf of Herzl's program. 

3 7 See Bernard Horwich, My First 80 Tears (Chicago, 1939), p. 230. Horwich 
erred in saying that Leon ZolotkofT of Chicago was elected a delegate to the First 
Zionist Congress; this mistake was repeated in various accounts of the history of 
American Zionism. 

3 8 This claim is accepted by various writers. Others credit the Ohav6 Zion Society, 
founded in New York on June 29, 1897, with being the first modern Zionist or- 
ganization which accepted Herzl's program. See Michal Aaronson, "Eltster 
Tsiyon-Fareyn Do Feiert Zein Yubiley," Morgen Journal (New York), December 
II, 1952. 



Schur supported the policies of Herzl and accepted the fusion 
of political Zionism with the Hibbat Zion movement. He stressed 
constantly that Zionism should be a means not only of political 
but also of spiritual redemption. Notwithstanding the similarity 
of some of his views to those of Ahad Ha-am, Schur criticized 
the Zionist thinker for his attitude towards political Zionism, 
In his weeklies Schur featured prominently the proceedings of 
the early Zionist congresses and gave much space to the Dreyfus 
case. Concerning Zionist relations with Turkey, Schur always 
urged a direct approach and believed that if the Jews offered 
economic aid to the Turks, the Sultan would support the 
Jewish aims in Palestine. 

In Herzl and Nordau, Schur recognized two leaders. He 
held them in such esteem that, in his article on the Second 
Zionist Congress, he wrote that his hope of seeing the rebirth of 
the dead bones of his people a hope which he had previously 
expressed in his Nezak Tisrael had been fulfilled by these 
leaders. He published their speeches and gave space to their 
letters, urging the American Zionists to greater activity. 3 9 

Schur was among the early supporters of the Federation of 
American Zionists, headed by Richard J. H. Gottheil. When 
some of the veteran Hoveve Zion societies, led by Dr. Philip 
Klein and Joseph I. Bluestone, refused to accept the authority 
of the Federation, Schur advocated a policy of cooperation with 
the new central body. Because of this viewpoint, a number of 
societies protested against the journal. Various other Zionist 

39 Herzl's first letter to Schur was published on December 20, 1894, in 
and contained a request for support of the Colonial Bank. A cablegram from 
Herzl on the same subject appeared in the journal on March 24, 1899. Additional 
letters from Herzl were reprinted on July 7, 1900, and October 2, 1900, in Ha- 
Tehiyah. Upon receiving Ha-Pisgah, Nordau sent Schur a letter of encouragement 
to American Zionists, printed in Ha-Pisgah on November 27, 1897. Additional 
letters from Nordau appeared on March 25, 1898, in Ha-Pisgah and on March 30, 
1900, in Ha-TekiyaL 



groups throughout the country reiterated, however, their support 
of Ha-Pisgah as their "official Zionist organ," and elected Schur 
to honor ary membership. 

Schur gave space to the Federation's call to its first conven- 
tion, scheduled to take place in May, 1898. 4 He opposed the 
decision to postpone the convention because of the Spanish- 
American War and voiced his despair in a letter, dated June 4, 
1898, to Zvi Hirsch Masliansky: "Since the beginning of the 
war the condition of Ha-Pisgah has worsened considerably. The 
subscribers have stopped sending money. And the Zionists? 
Do you believe that there are real Zionists in America? What 
have they done after all the tumult and noise? The mountain 
labored and brought forth a mouse. 53 4I 

When the convention finally took place on July 45, 1 898, 
Schur greeted it editorially, but pointed to its failure to empha- 
size the Hebrew language and Hebrew culture in the program, 
One of the tasks of the convention was to elect delegates to the 
Second Zionist Congress. Schur expressed his dissatisfaction 
over the choice of Kasriel Zvi Sarasohn as a delegate because 
he questioned Sarasohn's loyalty to Zionism. 

When the differences between the Federation and the old- 
time Hovev6 Zion continued unresolved, Schur suggested in 
Ha-Pisgah that the Federation be reorganized under Gottheil 
and Klein, as had been proposed by the Second Zionist Con- 
gress. 42 Two unpublished letters, dated October 1 7 and Novem- 
ber 23, 1898, from Schur to Deinard cast light on this early 
phase of Zionist organizing activity. In both letters he was 
sharply critical of the Federation's leadership and suggested 
that the New York Hovev6 Zion Society effect a change in its 

* For the text of the call, see Ha-Ptsgah, V (1898), issues 23-27, 

4 1 Igrot Sojrim, p. 130. 

< a Ha-Pisgah, V (1898), issue of October Hth. 



Schur expressed satisfaction with the fact that the Federation's 
second convention was to take place in June, 1899, outside of 
New York, in the city of Baltimore. Writing on May 25, 1899, 
to Benjamin L. Gordon, of Philadelphia, Schur said that he 
was planning to attend as a delegate and hoped that the conven- 
tion would take counsel on how to improve the situation in 
American Zionism. 43 At the Baltimore convention Schur was 
chosen as Hebrew secretary and gave an address in Hebrew on 
the problem of education. He was elected to the executive of 
the Federation and was chosen as a delegate to the Third 
Zionist Congress. Schur was, however, unable to go as a delegate. 
Despite an appeal issued by the Chicago Zionists over the 
signature of Felsenthal and others for funds to finance Schur's 
trip, only a small sum was raised. 44 

Schur continued to urge the Federation to recognize Ha-Pisgah 
as its official organ. In a letter dated October 5, 1899, he asked 
Gordon to support this request. He was again elected a member 
of the Federation's executive at its convention, held in New 
York on June 11-12, 1900, and also was chosen as a delegate 
to the Fourth Zionist Congress. 

In Chicago, Schur was among those who left the Hovev6 
Zion Society to form the new group called L'maan Zion ["For 
Zion's Sake"]. The organizers of the new group explained their 
action in a statement published in Ha-Pisgah. 4S They opposed 
sending a letter of congratulation to Sarasohn for "his great 
activities in behalf of Zion." Schur also strongly opposed Leon 
Zolotkoff, editor of the Chicago Tidisher Courier and ally of 
Sarasohn, since the activities of the Knights of Zion, the Zionist 

4* A. R. Malachi, "Mikhtev^ Zev Schur PDr. B. L. Gordon," Hadoar, XIII (1933). 
Sec the first letter especially. 

44 Ha-Ptsgak, VI (1899), issues of June 3Oth and July 7th. 
4* Ha-Pisgah, V (1897), issue of December 24th. 


order in which Zolotkoff held the position of general secretary, 
were repugnant to Schur. 

The weekly Ha-Tehiyah, which began publication on Novem- 
ber 9, 1899, as a continuation of Ha-Pisgah, also carried a 
regular section devoted to American Zionist activities. Since 
the Federation did not begin to issue the Maccabaean until 1901, 
Ha-Tehiyah, like its predecessor, is an important source for the 
history of American Zionism. In a series of enthusiastic ar- 
ticles Schur continued his agitation in behalf of the Colonial 

The issues of Ha-Tehiyah contain a full report on the Fourth 
Zionist Congress, held in London and attended by Schur as a 
delegate. On July 25, 1900, Ha-Tehiyah carried an account of 
the farewell meeting held for Schur before he left for the 
Congress, and a letter of greeting from Felsenthal, who had 
encouraged Schur in his journalistic activities throughout the 

From Schur's letters to his journal concerning the Congress, 
as well as from the stenographic report of the proceedings, it is 
evident that Schur argued against GottheiPs assertion of the 
right of the Mid- Western Zionist groups to maintain their own 
federation, independent of the New York organization. 46 This 
was still another expression of the Mid- Western groups' re- 
luctance to forego their autonomy completely in favor of the 
New York central body. 

Upon his return from London, Schur reported on the Con- 
gress in New York, Chicago, and Des Moines. A few weeks 
later Ha-Tehiyah abruptly ceased publication because of the 
editor's sudden illness, from which he was not to recover. 

< 6 See Ha-Tchiyah, I (1900), issue of August l6th; also Stenographischts Protokoll der 
Verhandlungtn des IV Zionisten-Congresses in London (Vienna, 1900), p. 181. 




The second large wave of Jewish immigrants from Russia came 
to America at the beginning of the iSgo's. A number of groups 
of "German" Jews rose to help the victims of persecution, and 
Schur, who had revived Ha-Pisgah in March, 1890, made the 
problem of immigrant aid one of the main concerns of his 
journal. He was among those who advocated the founding of 
the Jewish Alliance of America, whose purpose was to unite the 
East European Jews for the work of succor. 

As a reaction to the influx of Jews from Eastern Europe, 
various groups of German Jews, including such leading Reform 
rabbis as Solomon Schindler of Boston and Emil G. Hirsch of 
Chicago, became vocal in their opposition to this immigration. 4 7 
Schur was among those who challenged the "German" opposi- 
tion and who defended East European Jewry from its detractors. 
To the English masthead of Ha-Pisgah he added the words: 
"It is the organ of the most intelligent class of the Jewish 
immigrants." At the same time, he did not fail to criticize his 
fellow East European Jews for their lack of order and organiza- 

At first Schur viewed the activities of the Baron de Hirsch 
Fund favorably and expressed the hope that it would engage 
also in educational work among the immigrants. Later he 
warned the unfortunate East European Jews not to place too 
much hope in the Fund. When the Association of Jewish 
Immigrants of Philadelphia was founded, Ha-Pisgah printed the 
organization's warnings to East European Jewry not to expect 
help from the Fund. 48 

*7 See A. Tscherikower, "How the American Jews Received the Russian-Jewish 
Immigration," Gcsfukhte fun der Tiddisher Arbeter Bavegwg in di Fareynikte Shtatn 
(New York, 1943), I, 200-23. 

** Ha-Pisgah, II (1890), issue of June 22nd. 


Schur kept the cause of East European Jewry before the eyes 
of his readers. "We are opening the gates of Ha-Pisgah to this 
great issue/ 3 he stated in a leading article devoted to harassed 
Russian Jewry and calling on the East European Jews of New 
York and elsewhere to pool their efforts in one organization, 
so that they would neither require help from Baron de Hirsch 
nor have to hear the epithet "schnorrers" ["beggars"] from the 
German Jews. He urged Rabbi Jacob Joseph, of New York, and 
the other leading rabbis to issue a call for this purpose. 49 

Schur continued to urge his coreligionists to follow a policy 
of "self-help." When the Jews of Philadelphia organized the 
Jewish Alliance of America, Schur became one of its active 
supporters and urged the Jewish communities of other cities to 
form branches. Ha-Pisgah reflects the ups and downs of the 
Jewish Alliance, which, despite its short existence, laid the 
foundation for joint action of the East European and German 
Jews in behalf of persecuted Jewry. 

Schur's journal carried the Jewish Alliance's call, dated 
August n, 1890, and reported the organizational meeting held 
five days earlier in Philadelphia, where it had been decided to 
form a national alliance which would stress agricultural work 
for the immigrants. News of the activities of the societies for 
immigrant aid in New York, Boston, Baltimore, and Cincinnati 
is found in the pages of Schur's journal. In addition, Schur 
published various articles and poems on the need for alleviating 
the lot of the persecuted. 

To the objections of the Hovev6 Zion that the activities of the 
Jewish Alliance would detract from the work for Zionism, Schur 
replied editorially that the two complemented each other. 50 
By providing agricultural training, the Jewish Alliance would 
prepare people for eventual settlement in Palestine. He wrote: 

* Ha-Pisgah, II (1890), issue of June 29th. 
Ha-Pisgah, II (1891), issue of January 1st. 



If we have recently begun to support also the Jewish Alliance of 
America, whose aim it is to teach the immigrants agricultural work 
in America, let not our readers make the mistake of thinking that 
we have forsaken Zion. . . . We have spoken out for the idea of the 
Jewish Alliance of America because it has a great aim. ... Its aim 
and the aim of Hovev6 Zion are one and the same. 

Before long, however, Schur's enthusiasm for the work of 
the Jewish Alliance waned. He began to take it to task for 
advocating the establishment of agricultural colonies for the 
immigrants, an aim which was beyond its means. He criticized 
it also for failing to protect the honor and rights of the East 
European Jews against their detractors. In his opinion, it was 
more useful to establish in each city societies which would aid 
the immigrants to obtain work and to enter trades. He attributed 
the failure of the Jewish Alliance to the East European elements 
in American Jewry which had not given it fullhearted support. 

Public acknowledgment was made to Schur of his aid to the 
Jewish Alliance of America by its first president, Charles D. 
Spivak, at its founding convention. Spivak listed Ha-Pisgah 
among the newspapers which had rendered invaluable service 
to the organization. 51 In February, 1892, the Jewish Alliance 
was consolidated with the American Committee for Ameliorating 
the Condition of the Russian Exiles, an organization which had 
won the support of the German Jews as well. 

The strained relations between the East European and the 
German Jews are amply reflected in the pages of Ha-Pi$gah. 
Rabbi Solomon Schindler's anti-immigration articles and public 
statements in Boston were but one indication of the opposition 
on the part of some Reform rabbis. Schur fought Schindler's 
views and rallied some of the more liberal-minded Reform 
rabbis to the defense of the East European Jews. While Schindler 

* x See Constitution of the Jewish Alliance of America and Abstract of the Proceedings of 
the First Convention of the Alliance, held in Philadelphia, February 15, 1891, p. 22. 



was the subject of Schur's choicest epithets, Isaac M. Wise and 
others did not go unscathed. Schur kept up a running attack on 
Schindler and made him the subject of some of his sharpest 
editorials. As justification for his attacks on the rabbi, Schur 
reprinted from the Boston Herald Schindler's address, "Should 
Palestine Be Returned to the Jews?" S2 

In an appeal "To the German Rabbis in America," Schur 
urged that they rise up to defend the good name of East Eu- 
ropean Jewry. S3 He turned especially to Bernhard Felsenthal of 
Chicago, Dr. Alexander Kohut of New York, Dr. Marcus 
Jastrow of Philadelphia, Dr. Solomon H. Sonneschein of St. 
Louis, Dr. Benjamin Szold of Baltimore, and a few others, 
asking them to denounce Rabbi Schindler's statements. Schur 
wrote: "All of you know the Bible and Hebrew literature in 
the original and not through translation, and you know also 
what the Jewish inhabitants of Russia have accomplished in the 
field of Hebrew literature during the last fifty years. You know 
the East European Jews, their character and qualities, because 
you have had contact with them. Arise and state publicly your 
opinion of them." In a later issue Schur printed the sympathetic 
replies received from Rabbis Kohut, Szold, and Felsenthal. 

Schur spoke out also against Reform, which he viewed as a 
danger to the future of American Judaism and as a force for 
national assimilation. s 4 He put his faith in the Judaism practiced 
by the East European Jewry a Judaism which, he believed, 
required refinement rather than reform. Time and again he 
urged the East European Jewish intellectuals to establish a 
rabbinical seminary which would produce men of both basic 

* a Ha-Pisgah, II (1891), issue of April 

S3 Ha-Pisgah, II (1891), issue of April 10th. 

** For Schur's views against Reform, see Ghayim M. Rothblatt, "Ha-Itonut 
ha-Ivrit b' Chicago," The Chicago Pinkos, ed. Simon Rawidowicz (1952), pp. 45-47. 



Jewish and general knowledge. Schur felt that American rabbis, 
in addition to knowing the ancient sources, should be at home 
also in modern Hebrew. 

Although Schur constantly championed the cause of the East 
European Jews, he unceasingly reminded them of their failings 
and shortcomings. In the first volume of his journal he was 
critical of the management of kashrut [kosher food] in New York 
by Rabbi Jacob Joseph, and of the educational standards in 
that city. 55 He decried the fact that the East European Jews 
were dependent upon the philanthropy of German Jews and 
that they had not even one decent welfare society of their own. 
On various occasions he analyzed the basic reasons for the 
division between Jews of German and East European origin, 
and castigated his fellow Jews for the disorder in their ranks. 
He did not feel that, under the prevailing conditions, he could 
advise Russian Jews to make their home in America. 

Schur's attitude towards America was negative. " America 
is a rich and fruitful country in which ample bread is to be 
found, but only physical, not spiritual bread," he wrote in an 
editorial on the occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of 
the discovery of America. He greatly feared the rise of anti- 
Semitism and the enactment of anti-immigration laws. The Rus- 
sian American Jewish scholar, Judah David Eisenstein, of New 
York, took a more optimistic view of the Jewish position in 
America, which he expressed in a letter to Ha-Pisgah. 56 While 
Schur admitted, in an editorial note to Eisenstein's letter, that 
America was not like Russia, he still felt the danger of 
anti-Semitism to be imminent. Nevertheless, on occasion, he 
did express his faith that the spark of American Judaism could 
be fanned into a flame, if properly nurtured. 

ss Ha-Pisgah, I (1888), issue of October 12th. 
* 6 Ha-Pisgah, III (1891), issue of June nth. 



Schur's fullest presentation of his views on American Jewish 
life is found in his article, "Come, Let Us Search Our Ways," 
which appeared serially in the fourth volume of his journal. s 7 
He analyzed the character of the several waves of Jewish 
immigration, and painted a frank and realistic picture of the 
status of the East European Jews in this country. According 
to Schur, the squalor and poverty of their life were among the 
chief factors inducing anti-Semitism. 

"Why haven't our brethren from Russia and Poland known 
how to make proper use of American freedom?" asked Schur. 
In answer to this question, he attributed their condition to the 
low state of Yiddish journalism and the meager accomplishments 
of Jewish education. s 8 He expressed concern over the large 
numbers of children who, growing up without any education, 
were sent out peddling or into the sweatshops. The plethora of 
societies and small congregations, he felt, did not add to the 
glory of the American Jewish community. Nor was the rabbinate, 
to his mind, an effective instrument in leading the people. 

Once more Schur minced no words in blaming the East 
European Jews themselves for their sad lot. Castigating those 
who were already well-established for not helping the new- 
comers, Schur insisted that "a large share of the hatred of the 
Americans for the Jews of Russia and Poland could be blamed 
on themselves and not on the Americans." 

In his periodicals Schur expressed constant concern for the 
fate of Hebrew writers and of Hebrew literature in America. 
The editorials, literary information, and appeals which he 
published offer documentary evidence of the dire economic 

s? Ha-Pisgah, II (1891), issues of June 5th-July 3rd, July iyth, and July 3ist. 

58 Schur later suggested that the Hebrew teachers unite into a federation and 
adopt a uniform curriculum. He urged the teachers in New York to issue a call 
for a general meeting. See his editorial in Ha-Pisgah, V (1897), issue of Novem- 
ber 1 9th. 



plight of the Hebrew writers during the iSgo's and at the 
beginning of the twentieth century. The sufferings of the poets 
Menahem Mendel Dolitzky and Isaac Rabinowitz, of the 
grammarian Moses Ha-Kohen Reicherson, and of the scholar 
Abraham Dov Dobsevage [Dobsewitch] were subjects to which 
Schur returned time and again. In one editorial he declared: 
"In this country the fate of the Hebrew writer is worse than 
that of the hewer of wood and the drawer of water in Russia." 
In order to strengthen the position of Hebrew writers in America, 
Schur suggested the establishment of a Hebrew writers 3 asso- 
ciation along the lines of the one set up in Europe at the Third 
Zionist Congress. 

Schur sympathized with the lot of his fellow writers, for he 
himself epitomized their struggle for economic survival. When 
he was forced by sickness to cease his journalistic activity, he 
lost his meager source of income. He was the son of a generation 
of immigrants who endeavored to turn the tide of materialism 
and to focus attention upon the Hebrew language and literature 
and upon the spiritual aspects of American Jewish life. As a 
pioneer of Hebrew journalism and of our national ideal, Schur 
stands out as a symbol of unparalleled devotion to Hebraism 
and Zionism in America. 


The Human Record: 

Cyrus Adler at the 
Peace Conference, 1919 


The outline of this paper was originally presented at the 
special session on Philadelphia History at the fifty-second 
Annual Meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society, 
hi February, 1954, at the suggestion of Professor Salo W. 
Baron, then president of the Society, thus marking the nine- 
tieth anniversary of Cyrus Adler's birth on September 13, 
1863. In publishing the full paper in this Festschrift, honoring 
Professor Jacob R. Marcus, I wish also to express my gratitude 
to him for his friendship and guidance. 

IKE FOUR months which Cyrus Adler spent in Paris 
in the spring of 1919 are but a small time-segment of his rich 
and eventful life. Yet they represent one of the most significant 
periods in his career: four months of unremitting labor as rep- 
resentative of the American Jewish Committee and associate 
of Louis Marshall at the Peace Conference, months of intricate 
planning and discussion with the representatives of the ravaged 
and suffering European Jewish communities and of supreme 
dedication to the "emancipation of the Jews of Eastern Europe." 
Out of this experience, Cyrus Adler, American Jewish educator 
and administrator, emerged as Cyrus Adler, defender of Jewish 
rights and liberties everywhere. 

Dr. Moshe Davis is the Provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 
New York, N. Y. 



Dr. Adler left two records of his service in Europe. The first, 
"a working record," is arranged in three sections: diary, memo- 
randa, and correspondence. 1 The typescript, which exists in 
several copies, was deposited with the American Jewish Com- 
mittee, and is still unpublished. It has, however, been used 
extensively by many scholars who subsequently wrote on the 
Jews at the Peace Conference and on other phases of modern 
Jewish history. 2 

But Adler composed also another documentary of those his- 
toric days, a documentary which he chose to call "the human 
one. 35 This personal statement was embodied in the daily letters 
which Adler wrote home to his wife, Racie. With the permission 
of his daughter, Mrs. Wolfe Wolfinsohn, we herewith publish 
edited portions of those letters. 3 

1 Part I (pp. 1-73) is called "Diary of Doctor Cyrus Adler" (March 24 to July 10, 
1919); Part II (pp. 74-283) consists of "Minutes of Conferences, Drafts of Clauses, 
Memorials, etc."; Part III, "Correspondence," includes letters of Woodrow Wilson, 
Herbert Hoover, Ignace Jan Paderewski, Robert Lansing, Lewis L. Strauss, Henry 
Morgenthau, and others. 

3 The fullest utilization of the "Diary" is found in Oscar I. Janowsky, The Jews 
and Minority Rights: 7898-7979 (New York, 1933). Portions of the "Diary" were 
incorporated also in Adler*s autobiography, I Have Considered the Days (Philadelphia, 
1941), and in Abraham A. Neuman's Cyrus Adler ^ a Biographical Sketch (New York, 

A more recent history of the Peace Conference, in which Adler's record was 
consulted, is Joseph Tenenbaum's volume in Yiddish, Tzvishen MUchomeh un 
Shalom [Between War and Peace] (Buenos Aires, 1956). Dr. Tenenbaum was a 
member of the Polish Jewish Delegation, and wrote from the vantage point of 
the East European group, the view which prevailed at the Conference. 

3 Altogether, Dr. Adler sent 101 letters; what is published here is but a fraction 
of the material. The "Letters" include many intimate family matters and highly 
personal reports. I am, therefore, deeply grateful to Mrs. Wolfinsohn, who entrusted 
these precious documents to me and gave me a free hand to make my own selection. 
In this highly selective edition of the "Letters," my basic consideration was to 
extract those portions which are historically or biographically pertinent, and to 
try to arrange them in a continuing and unified account. The changes made in the 
text of the "Letters" were to correct the few slips in the spelling, to standardize the 
notations, and to correct obvious hurried errors in punctuation. 



Studied in juxtaposition, the second record not only brings 
completeness to the first; it also reveals the true character of 
Adler's service to his people and his deep sense of commitment 
to its needs. Indeed, it presents a new Cyrus Adler, a person 
whom we do not know from his writings and addresses, or even 
from his autobiography. The distinction once drawn by Charles 
Francis Adams "between the materials for a history of action 
and those for one of feeling" applies precisely to the two records 
which Adler left us. 4 In the public record, the facts speak, the 
individual is underplayed, the act itself is all-important. In the 
private record, reaction is the key, feeling is paramount; there 
is no intention to communicate all the facts, nor is this even 

What Adams has to say on this subject is of such striking 
pertinence to our study and is so remarkably appropriate to 
Adler's "human record" that it is worthwhile to consider the 
entire passage: 

Our history is for the most part wrapped up in the forms of office. The 
great men . . . are seen, for the most part, when conscious that they are 
acting upon a theatre, where individual sentiment must sometimes be 
disguised, and often sacrificed, for the public good. Statesmen and 
generals rarely say all they think or feel. The consequence is, that, in 
the papers which come from them, they are made to assume a uniform 
of grave hue, which, though it doubtless exalts the opinion later genera- 
tions may entertain of their perfections, somewhat diminishes the inter- 
est with which they study their character. . . . We look for the workings 
of the heart, when those of the head alone are presented to us. We 
watch the emotions of the spirit, and yet find clear traces only of the 
reasoning of the intellect. The solitary meditation, the confidential 
whisper to a friend, never meant to reach the ear of the multitude, the 
secret wishes, not to be blazoned forth to catch applause, the fluctua- 
tions between fear and hope, that most betray the springs of action 
these are the guides to character. . . . 5 

^ Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams, with an Introductory Memoir by 
her grandson, Charles Francis Adams, fourth edition (Boston, 1848), p. xviL 

$ Ibid. 



The "Letters" offer a new guide to Adler's character. Aspects 
of his personality known only to his intimates, his reflections 
scrupulously withheld throughout the years, are revealed in 
the "Letters." And they breathe spirit into the flesh and bones 
of the formal record. 

It is not our purpose in this introductory statement to describe 
the events leading to the final success of the Committee of Jewish 
Delegations as measured by the Polish Minorities Treaty and 
the other treaties in which the Jews were given religious and 
linguistic rights. Nor are we here concerned with an evaluation 
of the general procedure and results in the light of subsequent 
history. 6 Our focus is on Cyrus Adler. But some brief back- 
ground remarks are necessary to place the "Letters" in per- 

Paris in the spring of 1919 was cold and cynical. It was 
crowded with soldiers and diplomats. Although they did not 
often express it, people felt that a new era of shameless self- 
interest had come upon them. As Franklin D. Roosevelt, who 
was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, recalled: 

President Wilson's gallant appeal . . . meant little to the imagination 
or the hearts of a large number of the so-called statesmen who gathered 
in Paris to assemble a treaty of so-called peace in 1919. I saw that with 
my own eyes. I heard that with my own ears. Political profit, personal 
prestige, national aggrandizement, attended the birth of the League of 
Nations, and handicapped it from its infancy. 7 

Herbert Hoover described the mood in more graphic lan- 
guage: "The wolf is at the door of the world." 

This was the setting in which the respective Jewish delegations 

6 For a summary of the work of the Peace Conference and the Minorities Treaties 
in relation to Jewish rights, see A. Gorali, Skeelat Hamiut Hayehudi Bechever Haleumim 
[The Problem of the Jewish Minority in the League of Nations} (Jerusalem, 1952), Part I, 
"Treaties of Protection of Minorities," pp. 11-34. 

7 Quoted in Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Ordeal (Boston, 1954), p. 3. 



convened in Paris. They were no less divided among themselves 
than the victors who had gathered to apportion the war's spoils. 
It had been agreed earlier among the various Jewish representa- 
tives that the Palestine question should be clearly dissociated 
from the minority rights issue. On that score argument had been 
eliminated in advance. 8 But even concerning the demands for 
minority rights, the eastern and western groups were divided. 
The first sought national minority status for the Jews; the latter 
thought that special political guarantees would be harmful. 9 
Nevertheless, after much dissension and bickering, necessity as 
well as underlying devotion to common ends created a mood for 
joint action, and a compromise formula was adopted. The 
urgent purpose of the Jewish delegations was always before 
them: the emancipation of East European Jewry. Adler, too, 
saw the attainment of this goal as his sole objective in coming, 
and he never swerved from it. 

Adler actually had not wanted to go to Paris. His responsibili- 
ties at Dropsie College and at the Jewish Theological Seminary 
of America weighed heavily upon him. Nor did he wish to leave 
his family. This separation, in fact, was his greatest trial abroad. 
Nevertheless, his duty was clear. He was vice president of the 
American Jewish Committee and chairman of its Executive 
Committee. Adler had opposed the formation of the American 
Jewish Congress in December, igi8. But once it was organized, 
its existence and influence could not be denied. When it became 
clear that the Congress leadership would be fully represented 
in Paris, the American Jewish Committee felt it necessary that 

8 For the background and development of the Zionist presentation at the Con- 
ference, see Selig Adler, "The Palestine Question in the Wilson Era," Jewish 
Social Studies, X (October, 1948), 303-34. 

9 See Tenenbaum, chapters V and VI ("The Jewish Peace Representatives in 
Conflict" and "Committees and Little Committees"), pp. 60-93. 



its representatives also should be present. x Reluctantly, Adler 
agreed to the Committee's decision that he go to Europe "to 
cooperate in respect to securing full rights for the Jews in all 
lands where such rights are denied." * x As he wrote to Louis 
Marshall: "My present willingness to go is ... based more upon 
the insistence of Mr. [Jacob H.] Schiff and yourself, than upon 
my judgement." z a 

The relationship between Marshall and Adler was one of 
friendship and mutual reliance. They traveled together and 
worked side by side throughout the months of feverish activity. 
And they were the last two members of the American group to 
leave. Marshall, of course, emerged as the giant figure of the 
Jewish delegations and was their spokesman. 13 Yet Marshall 
was always mindful of the strong support which Adler gave 
to his decisions, and of the persuasive role which he played in 
them. 14 Writing to Jacob H. Schiff in 1920, and recalling an 
incident at the Conference, Marshall indicated that his accept- 
ance of the presidency of the Committee of Jewish Delegations 
was "with the concurrence of Dr. Adler." I s 

10 See Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty, ed. Charles Rcznikoff (Philadelphia, 

1957), n, 538-40- 

11 "Adler Papers," Louis Marshall to Gyms Adler (January 23, 1919). Other 
communications in the "Papers" relating to the conversations between Marshall, 
Schiff, and Adler are as follows: Adler to Marshall (November 19, 1918); Adler 
to Marshall (January 20, 1919); Marshall to Adler (January 23, 1919); Marshall's 
certification of Adler's credentials (February 8, 1919). 

13 Ibid., January 27, 1919. 

x See Cyrus Adler, "Louis Marshall," in Lectures, Selected Papers and Addresses 
(Philadelphia, 1933), p. 147. 

x Adler was instrumental in bringing Marshall and Judge Mack together, thus 
establishing the basis for a unified approach in the Delegations. "Diary," p. 7; 
"Letters" (March 28). See also Janowsky, p. 291. 

*s Louis Marshall to Jacob H. Schiff (January 22, 1920). From the Louis Marshall 
Collection of the American Jewish Archives, with the permission of Mr. Marshall's 
family. I am grateful to Charles Reznikoff, editor of the Marshall papers, and to 
Morris Fine, of the American Jewish Committee, with both of whom I consulted* 



Marshall and Adler regarded themselves, and were regarded 
by others, as a team. Lewis L. Strauss, who is mentioned several 
times in the "Letters" in most glowing terms, and who served 
as secretary to Herbert Hoover, couples the two in a brief 

The events of those days made a deep impression upon me. . . . Dr. 
Adler and Louis Marshall were in Paris together and accomplished 
an unbelievable service for minority groups the world over. Their 
patience in listening for days on end to long harangues and arguments, 
their perseverance in the face of great odds, their great force and 
accompanying gentleness and humanity surpassed anything I have 
ever since experienced. Truly, there were giants in those days. . . . r * 

While, as Strauss indicates, the immediate tasks of the Confer- 
ence required infinite patience and long hours of devoted at- 
tention, Adler nonetheless found the time to fulfill all the other 
obligations which he had assumed. High on his daily agenda 
was the urgent and immediate need to bring relief to the war- 
stricken. From the moment he arrived in London and through 
the months ahead, he was in close contact with the European 
work of the Joint Distribution Committee. He met with Eliezer 
Sigfried Hoofien, the J.D.C. representative, and worked with 
the delegations from Roumania and Galicia, Poland and 
Palestine. 17 Some of the happier activities connected with his 
Jewish Welfare Board responsibilities are described in the "Let- 
ters* 5 ; and the "Diary" records the meeting to solve the problem 
of locating the Russian Jewish soldiers who had been taken 
prisoners and who were then in Paris. x 8 

regarding the Marshall-Adler correspondence. For other Marshall references to 
this association, see Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty, II, pp. 549-51, 553, 563-64, 

16 Lewis L. Strauss to Moshe Davis (February II, 1954). 
x ? "Diary" (March 26; April 3, 4, ll), pp. 5, 12-13, 15, 20. 

18 Ibid. (March 30), p. 10. See also Cyrus Adler, "Origin of the Jewish Welfare 
Board," in Lectures, Selected Papers and Addresses, pp. 227-28. 



Besides the tasks of Jewish statesmanship and relief activities, 
there were other duties which derived from Adler's wide cultural 
and personal interests. He counselled Harry Schneiderman, then 
editor of the American Jewish Tear Book, on the publication of the 
twenty-first volume, and secured the material on the Peace Con- 
ference which was included. 19 Adler carried about with him 
the proof sheets of Simon Dubnow's History of the Jews of Russia 
and Poland, which was to be issued by the Jewish Publication 
Society. This book, it turned out, was very helpful in an im- 
mediate and practical way. As Adler tells us in his autobiography, 
he gave it to Arthur Lehman Goodhart, the legal advisor to the 
Morgenthau Commission to Poland, who thus acquired authen- 
tic background information for his assignment. 20 

Describing his work in Paris, Adler wrote that he had no 
leisure, "but it was a different sort of work, 'conversations' in 
polyglot," 21 A parade of personalities moves through the 
"Letters' 3 and "Diary"; he met quite literally with hundreds of 
people, not only with cultural and political leaders, but also 
with friends from home, "students and soldiers." His happiest 
hours were his wanderings among the bookstalls or when he 
could find children to play with. Out of the blue, in one of his 
"Letters," comes the seemingly irrelevant remark: "I see few 
children hereabouts." 22 This is another reflection of his home- 

Moving, too, are the reflections which pressed in upon him as 
he walked the streets of Paris. "When I felt the rain and cold 
today standing around the stations at Havre and Paris I realize 
what the soldiers had to stand, and think none of us ought ever 

" "Diary," pp. 349-54- 
30 / Have Considered the Days, p, 319. 
ai "Letters" (March 30). 
**Ibid. (April 6). 



o complain of our discomforts." 23 Or this one: "In happier 
lays you, Sarah, and I must see it together . . . but this is no 
ime to travel for pleasure." 24 

Writing home, Adler often tried to make a case for his "im- 
>erturbability." But the "Letters" disclose that this was a surface 
nood. Deep down, and inside, he was shaken, as at the Kaddish 
it the service in the synagogue at Rue Victoire, 2S or in his 
ament: "The reports from Eastern Europe are worse and 
vorse." * 6 The saddening experience of human anguish brought 
orth the quiet prayer for his wife: "I want you to be in a posi- 
ion to enjoy life in this rejuvenated world." 27 

Late in April, Adler recorded: "Things look promising for 
. great charter of liberty for the Jewish people." 28 But it took 
everal more months before "the Olympians," as he always 
eferred to the heads of the governments, could agree on specific 
Drmulations. Finally the great day came. Victory was written 
tito a document, and the document was hailed as a milestone 
a the struggle for human rights and liberties. In a letter to 
toris D, Bogen, who was then in Poland, Marshall, Adler, and 
Tahum Sokolow, the three men representing the formerly 
livergent "West and East" camps of the Jewish delegations, 
inited to express their satisfaction with the treaty entered into 
>etween the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Poland. 

t is our firm belief that these treaties have at last absolved the Jews of 
Eastern Europe from the serious disabilities from which they have so 
Dng suffered and will forever end the grave abuse of the past. They 

3 "Letters" (March 27). 

* Ibid. (March 25). 

* Infra, Letter of Sunday, March 30, 1919. 

* Infra> Letter of March 31. 

7 Ibid. (June 14). 

8 "Diary" (April 23). 



will enable the Jews as well as all other minorities to live their own 
lives and to develop their own culture. . . . a9 

These men and their associates in the Jewish delegations 
were not prophets. Later history frustrated their work and 
their dreams, 3 But if they were not prophets, they were, indeed, 
the children of prophets. It was their obligation to meet the 
duties of their time and hour. Theirs was the task of uniting 
world Jewry, of seeking a way in which Jews everywhere could 
devote themselves in freedom to their cultural and spiritual 
heritage. This task they performed nobly. 

While they had not gone to Versailles for the actual signing 
of the Treaty it was the Sabbath, June 2 8th Marshall 
and Adler heard it announced hi Paris by the boom of the 
guns. Political emancipation for the East European Jews had 
been achieved. The time had come to turn from the needs of 
the Jews in Europe to those of the Jewish community in America. 
They began to plan for the future. They agreed to devote 
themselves to Jewish education. 

This solemn decision is briefly recorded in Adler's auto- 
biography. 3 x It was confirmed in a letter which Marshall sent 
to Jacob H. Schiff immediately upon their return: 

Dr. Adler and I discussed these points while we were abroad. We are 
both of us agreed that now that the question of Jewish emancipation 

**Ibid., p. 394- 

3 In his autobiography, Adler later wrote: "I felt at that time, and I am sure 
Mr. Marshall did too, that the Charter of Rights ... in the Polish Treaty was one of 
the greatest achievements of the Conference from our point of view. We were not 
so shortsighted as to think that the benefits would inure to the Jews of Poland 
at once. I wrote at the time that I felt it would take at least twenty-five years before 
the benefits would fully accrue to the Jews of Poland. At the time of the present 
writing twenty years have passed. The intervening ones have not been very good. 
I hope that my prophecy about the twenty-five years will still prove true." [/ Have 
Considered the Days > p. 324.] 

** Ibid., p. 324, 


soon be disposed of, at least to the extent that treaties and consti- 
tutions can do so, the next great problem of American Jewry is to take 
up in a comprehensive manner the subject of Jewish education, not 
only insofar as it relates to higher learning, but especially with regard 
to primary and elementary schools. 3 2 

Fully cognizant of the importance of this decision, Adler 
returned home determined to help bring it to fruition. In the 
decades which followed he worked tirelessly for many noble 
ends. Yet the experiences in Paris during those four months 
never left him. There he had seen the ineradicable scars of 
human suffering. There he had come to understand, at the 
source, the motivations and strivings of his brethren in European 
lands. And there, above all, he had conquered his own pre- 
conceptions. He had worked for a meeting of divergent minds, 
to bring agreement out of dissension, so that, henceforth, he 
and his brothers could dwell together in unity. 

The Letters 

Sunday, March 16, 1919, 3:30 P.M. 

R. M. S. Caronia. 

We had Shabbos dinner in my cabin yesterday bread, 
tongue, and fruit. I said the prayers and it gave me a better 
feeling than being in the dining room. 33 

a 3 Louis Marshall Collection (August 14, 1919). 

33 "We were booked to sail on March loth but owing to the Harbor strike did not 
leave till Wednesday, March I2th, at 2 P.M. The Caronia put into Halifax for 
coal on Friday, March 1 4th, and sailed on Sunday, March i6th, arriving at 
Liverpool Sunday, March 23d. After the formalities connected with landing, we 
took the 3:55 train for London, arriving there about 9 P.M., and were fortunate 
enough to secure very comfortable quarters at the Carlton, in spite of the crowded 
condition of London." ["Diary," p. ij 



London, Tuesday, March 25, [19] 19, n P.M. 
... we went to Elkan Adler's to dinner ... we had a good 
talk and saw Elkan Adler's wonderful library. 3 4 He is a bachelor 
who lives in a perfectly enormous house. This was the first meat 
meal I have had, but I have not felt the want of it. ... 

Paris, Sunday, March 30, [19] 19. 

... we went to the synagogue at the Rue Victoire [Friday 
evening, March 28th]. I am sure you remember the grandeur 
of the building. The hazan has a beautiful voice and the choir 
of several dozen small boys and a few men was most impressive. 
Four rabbis were at their stations, including Israel Levi, the 
Grand Rabbi of France. Most impressive of all was the con- 
gregation. There were certainly a thousand persons present, 
and nearly every woman was in mourning. Hundreds of men 
rose to say Kaddish. They all stood together on the almemar. 
This congregation gave me a more forcible idea of what France 
had suffered than anything I have read. It was very pathetic. 

March 31, 1919, midnight. 

.... I hope we are making progress toward a union of forces, 
but it is slow work, just as the big Conference is also slow. 
Possibly it is best when there are so many diverse interests and 
people; haste would be inadvisable even if possible. 3 s 

One hears a great deal of pessimistic talk, but it is difficult 
to say what that amounts to .... I can't say that the work is 
exhilarating so far, but it was so very necessary that we should 
come that I don't believe you would have forgiven me if I had 
not come, and I could not have forgiven myself. 

3* "Mr. Adler, while not a Zionist, indicated his pro-Palestinian attitude, agreeing 
with the position which the American Jewish Committee has taken." [Ibid., p. 2.] 

35 See "Proceedings of a Meeting of Representatives of Jewish Organizations of 
Various Countries" (Sunday, March 30, 1919), "Diary," Part II, pp. 74-90. 



None of the relief party 3 6 has shown up yet but will tomorrow. 
The reports from Eastern Europe are worse and worse. Five 
of our people are now in Poland. . . . 

Wednesday, April 2, 1919. 

I spend some time writing each day as I am keeping a brief, 
but I hope accurate, record of what is going on here, so far as it 
comes within my own ken. 

Thursday, April 3, [19] 19. 

This afternoon we went to the Red Cross to look after 
mandates received by cable from the Joint Distribution Com- 
mittee. The officers there were most kind and sympathetic. 
An entirely new condition has broken out in Poland which 
dwarfs all questions of relief: an epidemic of typhus. There 
are said to be one hundred thousand cases. 

Walking back I met Dr. Haffkine, 37 whom I consider one 
of the ablest and most charming men of our entire group. He 
came back to the hotel with me, and as he lived in India for 
twenty years and has become quite English, I martyrized myself 
by drinking tea with him. . . . 

Sunday, April 6 [1919], 1:30 A.M. 

You see what bad hours I am keeping, but I have come 
from a full meeting at the Consistoire [the headquarters of French 

* 6 Representatives of the Joint Distribution Committee. 

s 1 Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Wolff Haffkine was largely responsible for the forma- 
tion of the Comitf de Juifs de Paris Descendants de Juifs de I 9 Europe Orientate. As the 
long name indicates, this Committee, known as the Haffkine Committee, sepa- 
rated itself from the official representatives of Russian Jewry. The Comiti addressed 
the Peace Conference on May 15, 1919, using the word "minority" rights in- 
stead of "national" rights. Nevertheless, it followed the policy of the Committee 
of Jewish Delegations. See "Diary," p. 13; Janowsky, pp. 296, 350. 



Jewry]. This is the gathering we have been aiming at. Another 
takes place at eight this Sunday night. 

This morning (I mean Saturday) I went alone to the 
Portuguese synagogue in the Rue Bufiault. They have an organ, 
a boys' choir, and a good deal of ceremony. None of their 
melodies were familiar to me, but of course the service was. 
It was over at 10:30. 

Sunday, April 6, [19] 19. 

This is another beautiful day and mild. After studying a 
lot of papers that had to do with Palestine relief, we actually 
treated ourselves to an hour's walk through the Jardin des 
Tuileries and along the Seine. It was beautiful and the hundreds 
upon hundreds of captured German cannons were a good sight. 

Monday, 2 A.M. Just back from a full meeting which began 
at 8 P.M. at which twenty speeches were made in at least four 
different languages. This is the last of these lengthy discussions, 
I think. Whether we have paved the way for a real union I do 
not know, but at least we have tried. s8 

3* See "Memorandum of the Proceedings of a Meeting of Representatives of 
Jewish Organizations of Various Countries Held at the Salle du Gonsistoire 
Isra&ite, Rue de La Victoire" (Saturday, April 5th, and Sunday, April 6th, 
1919), "Diary," Part II, pp. 91-1 15. 

Dr. Adler's view is reported on pp. 105-6: 

Doctor Adler stated that nearly all the previous speakers had drawn a sharp 
line between the East and the West. He could say without the slightest hesita- 
tion that no such line exists for him. Whether we say Kol Yisrael Ahim (and 
none can fight so bitterly as brothers) or Kol Tisrad Haberim (he preferred the 
latter because it is an expression of will and indicates greater likelihood of 
getting on together), we must try to secure full rights. An agreement was of the 
greatest importance. If two, four, or six projects are handed in to the Conference 
they are likely to be examined by men less competent to deal with them than 
the gentlemen present. These men would be likely to strike out disagreements 
hi the various projects and leave a colorless and useless document. Is the 
historic position of the Jews of Poland one of choice or necessity? He believed 
their greatest desire would have been for centuries to free themselves from 
the conditions imposed upon them by Poles and Russians. Yet, if the Eastern 
Jews would take the responsibility of insisting that they get rights different 
from those of the other Jews, he was ready to support them. They should 
consider that whatever they did would affect 3,300,000 Jews in America, 



April 7, 1919 (Monday). 

At the meeting last night, I made a brief address (one of 
twenty), but the forces that are at play in this place are not 
disposed to reason; each has his own idea and must have all 
or nothing. I do not suppose this state of mind will last, but 
just at present the attitudes of the various peoples are as little 
to be composed as the ocean in a storm. Maybe we will have a 
calm later on. 

The relief work is a sure thing at least. We were arranging 
this morning to purchase from the Army shoes, underwear, 
socks, and stuff to be made up into women's and children's 
clothes to be sent to Poland. Mr. Marshall and I had decided 
to spend $100,000.00 on this and only a few minutes ago I got 
word that Lord Swaythling 39 had telegraphed 40,000.00 for 
the same purpose. Dr. Bogen 40 and four others are in Poland 
now to distribute what is sent, and the Hoover administration 
furnishes the cars for transportation, 

three-fourths of whom had come in the last forty years. He preferred a formula 
giving the Jews all rights granted any other section of the population. Such a 
formula, omitting the phrase "national rights" but securing them where other 
nations did, would secure rights for the East without injuring the West. He 
did not wish to judge for others but did not wish others to judge for those he 
represented. It was well known that Jews had frequently been called a nation 
in the Western world. At one time, before the readmission of the Jews to 
England, the Sephardic Jews there were known as the Portuguese nation. 
The Indian tribes in America are called nations and are so designated in 
treaties made with them by the United States. Whenever the Western world 
used the word nation, however, it implied the adjective foreign, and meant 
that those so designated did not form part of the population. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, a committee of seven was appointed to 
prepare a draft of a "union formula" to be presented to the Peace Conference, 
which included representatives of the various Jewish delegations. Marshall and 
Adler were appointed to this committee. 

3 9 Lord Louis Samuel Swaythling (his family name was originally Montagu) and 
Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild were elected members of the delegation of the Jews 
of the British Empire to represent British Jewry at the meetings in Paris, but they 
were unable to leave England. They were replaced by Henry Straus Quixano 
Henriques and Joseph Prag. 

4 Boris D. Bogen served as administrator of Jewish relief in Poland. See his 
autobiography, Born A Jew (New York, 1930), especially chapters XIV-XIX. 



Tuesday, April 8, [19] 19. 

Before I answer your letters, let me say that our own affairs 
here are beginning to take a better turn at least an approach 
to unity. Our large committee of about fifty had appointed a 
small committee of seven, which met this morning. I cannot 
say that harmony is certain, but at least approaches have been 
made. My travelling companion [Marshall] and I represent 
the U.S.A. on this committee of seven so there is no kick coming 
our way. . . . 

. . . God knows this is a time when good understanding and 
peace are needed in this world. 41 I also feel that for the relief 
work alone I have been able to help more here in two days 
than I could have in a year at home. It was very necessary to 
come. Some of us ought to have been over here all these years. 
The need and the work are both stupendous, and it is big 
work. . . , 42 

Wednesday, April 9, 1919. 

We are making our plans for Pesach as follows: Seder with 
the soldiers. I am getting four kilos of matzos and will get boiled 
eggs and coffee sent to the room. Other meals I will go to the 

< x janowsky cites Nahum Sokolow's testimony to Adler's conciliatory attitude: 
"Outside our ranks Mr. Adler was really the most accommodating" (pp. 305-6). 
Tenenbaum, who is highly critical of the "assimilationist American Jewish Com- 
mittee'* approach of Adler throughout his volume (see especially pp. 35, 65, 70), 
places a different emphasis on the compromise proposal (see pp. 75-80). 

* 3 The "Diary" is punctuated with tragic reports from Poland. A typical insertion 
is dated Friday, April nth: 

We then went to the Welfare Board where we met Major Davis, M.D., U. S. A., 
who gave us a most terrible picture of conditions in Poland. The synagogue[s], 
he said, were filled with people, many of them ill with typhus, because they 
had no other shelter; he saw people delirious from hunger. He said that at 
the beginning, Doctor Bogen met with great difficulties but gradually his 
position was improved that most of the Commissioners were useless; that 
what was needed were strong young men and women who were willing to 
sacrifice their comfort and they ought to be in uniform [pp. 20-21], 



kosher restaurant . . . though I am going to lay in some sausage 
in case it should be too bad weather on a walking day .... 

Thursday, April 10, 1919. 

Tomorrow there will be more "conversations," and by the 
middle of next week our Jewish delegations will reach an 
agreement if one is possible. The men from Eastern Europe 
have been through a lot and their conditions are heartrending. 
One cannot avoid sympathizing with their needs (and I do 
not mean only their physical needs), even if we cannot always 
follow their judgement. 

Sunday night, April 13, [19] 19. 

Affairs seem to be reaching a crisis, and I am afraid we shall 
have a busy Passover. Whatever may come out of it, I shall 
always feel that, in spite of my sorrow at being away from you, 
it was necessary to come and that it would have been a betrayal 
of helpless people not to do so. Only I ought to have come in 

April 14, 1919, Monday, nos mtf [Erev Pesach]. 
All this morning we spent at the Hotel Grillon creating, I 
think, favorable public opinion. ... It looks like a very long 
story. I shouldn't be surprised if things would last until the 
summer. It is a game of watchful waiting. However, it is a 
stormy day, and I may be pessimistic. 

Wednesday, April 16, 1919. 

Monday evening we went to the Rue Victoire to synagogue, 
where there was an enormous congregation and a beautiful 
service. Then to the hall where the JWB [Jewish Welfare Board] 
Seder was held. There were five hundred seats around the table 
and, excepting forty reserved for officials and the various 



delegates who were here and asked to be invited, all the rest 
were occupied by soldiers, officers and men. A few were Austral- 
ians and the rest Americans. The service was chanted by an 
American soldier from Washington, [Abe] SchefFerman, who 
has a powerful and magnificent voice. After the service there 
was, unfortunately, speaking. I led off, followed by Marshall, 
[Julian W.J Mack, a French colonel who "represented" Marshal 
[Ferdinand] Foch, and Congressman [Walter Marion] Chandler. 
I was rather opposed to this part of the programme, but the boys 
seemed to like it, and I tell you they can cheer. All the details 
were observed. Each person had his dish of charoset, horseradish, 
lettuce, and herbs. It was really an inspiring sight, and the 
boys were so happy and felt themselves greatly honored. It 
rained cats and dogs, and we were all soaked when we got 
home, but none the worse for wear. . . . 

Tuesday morning I went to the Portuguese synagogue, which 
was also crowded. The service was very impressive, and the 
Americans all got honors. ... I accompanied the Law and 
[David S.] Blondheim had something else. My regular seat now 
is on the banco, with the president and I was called up as 
"Monsieur Cyrus Adler de la Consistoire de Philadelphia. 5 * 
(By the way, I am getting along better in French than I thought, 
although I am somewhat timid about it in good society.) The 
chant for the prayer for the dew is exactly as with us. I wish 
we would have more dew and less rain. . . . 

In the evening we went again to the Seder. This time [Harry] 
Cutler, Marshall, and I were the only guests. The Australian 
Jewish chaplain and the soldiers themselves made the speeches, 
and it was more informal and jollier than the first night. Most 
of the boys who were there the second night could not get in 
the first night. There were more Australians present, and they 
gave their peculiar war cry. . . . 

You say you are wondering whether things are going as I 



want them. There is no use writing about them as everything 
is in a state of flux, but the big things look a little better, and 
our own hold out some hope, though I fear we cannot bring 
about unanimity. 

April 17, 1919. 

. . . this whole business is one of watchful waiting, to use a 
famous phrase, but the elements are so diverse and the conditions 
so big that the watching is harder than the working. This is 
not a complaint, only a statement of fact. Tonight we have 
been sitting in the hotel with a couple of bright Americans 
engaged in what is here the principal business: talking, with a 
goodly number of stories thrown in. 

Friday, April 18, [19] 19. 

My principal business today has been at Mr. Hoover's office, 
where I have been twice in connection with affairs in Poland, 
which are very horrifying. . , . 43 

The interview with Herbert Hoover, chairman of the American Relief Com- 
mittee, is summarized in the "Diary," pp. 182-85. 

The following extract of the report of the meeting indicates the similarity of 
views held by Adler and Hoover. Yet Adler persisted in presenting the views 
of the East European delegations. 

.... Mr. Hoover said further: 

1. That strong Jews in America and elsewhere ought to be factors in 
preventing the Jews in Poland from continuing the mistakes they are now 
making in causing a political division. 

2. That the Jews ought to insist on political equality and religious liberty. 

3. That it is a profound error to introduce the words "national rights" 
into the discussion. He again, at this point, emphasized the need for demanding 
political equality and refigious liberty. 

Doctor Adler here stated that this had been his own view but that practically 
all the Jewish delegations from Eastern Europe insisted that national minority 
rights were their only safeguard; that the Eastern Jews insisted that they know 
conditions and are the best judges of what they require and that the Western 
Jews have no right to impose their views upon them. That even the French 
and English Jews who do not use the word "national" insist upon "minority 

Mr. Hoover said that he considers this a most serious mistake. 

4. That the Joint Distribution Committee should continue to do its relief 



.... I am playing a lone hand in the main until such time 
as I think it may be useful for the cause to do otherwise. The 
position is not an easy one but I am standing as an independent 
entity representing America. I may tire out most of the others 
before they tire me out. You may be sure that I am not moved 
by personal considerations, for the position is too tremendous 
to have such considerations weigh. But just at the moment it 
seems wise to me. 

Wednesday, April 23, 1919. 

.... If ever there was a time when individuals counted for 
nothing, and the cause of millions of suffering humanity counted, 
this is the time. I hope you will not think the less of me because 
of my method; indeed, it is the only one I can employ. 

Everything now is on the knees of the Olympians, the big 
four, and by next Monday we shall know how things turn out. 
Nobody will be satisfied, of that I am sure, but it may be that 
even with deductions we shall get a great charter of liberties 
for our people. Let us hope so. 

April 25, 1919. 

.... This is the most nerve-racking atmosphere that ever 
was churned up. No hours are possible for meals or anything 
else. People knock at your door before you are up and drop 
in at 10:45 P.M. . . . 

work in Poland in which the American Relief Administration is giving and 
will give every possible assistance. 

5. That it should continue to organize local committees for this purpose, 
but that in Poland and wherever else it does its work, it should make it a 
condition of administering of relief in any form, that the committees should 
have no political character, or that the participants therein do no political 
work against the existing government 

He asked Doctor Adler to make titiis clear to his people and when Doctor 
Adler asked for permission to quote him, he assented. 

April nineteenth, 1919. 



April 27, 1919. 

We then called on Baron Edmond de Rothschild and had a 
most interesting hour's talk. He is a tall, spare man of seventy- 
three, very intelligent and well informed as to affairs all over 
the world. 

His "hotel" is a very fine one, and the room in which we 
were received full of fine pictures and other objects of art. . . . 

April 28, 1919. 

Tonight a half dozen of us, including two men just in from 
Poland, dined together, and we got more details about condi- 
tions there and tried to think out plans to be of help. It is a 
hard nut to crack, as indeed is most of the Eastern world. 
Anyone who is perfectly sure that he knows what is best is a 
mixture of sublime assurance and actual ignorance. 

Midnight, May i, [19] 19. 

This evening I went to Rabbi Lieber's [Maurice Liber] for 
dinner. Blondheim called for me. We were the only guests. The 
family consisted of the rabbi, his wife, and sister-in-law. Two 
dear little girls about four and six were allowed to stay up to 
see me, and I suppose out of compliment to me one of them 
was dressed in something that looked perilously like an American 

Friday afternoon, May 2, 1919. 

This morning at Brentano's and the Hotel Crillon I devoted 
a couple hours to the Free Library of Philadelphia and made 
good progress. I think the matter will work out satisfactorily. I 
got an armful of pamphlets and maps this morning for 
nothing. . . , 44 

<* This was one of Dr. Adler's "hobby" assignments. He had consented, before 
leaving New York, to the request of Simon Gratz, then president of the Board of 



May 4, 1919, 11:20 P.M. 

I picked up the other day a volume of Sherlock Holmes 
stories which I have never read, so think what fun I am 
having. . . . 

Monday morning. May 5, [1919]. 

.... Yesterday afternoon Marshall, Cutler, and I decided 
on an afternoon off. Cutler had a fine limousine, and we went 
through the Bois de Boulogne, which is wonderfully green and 
beautiful and was crowded with people. Then out to Versailles, 
where we saw all the wonders, both outdoor and in the miles of 
historical paintings, too many of which look as though they were 
done to order. You probably remember, however, the tapestries, 
which to my eye are infinitely more beautiful than the paintings. 
But it was the out of doors which is the most beautiful of all. 
Such gardens and lawns and avenues of trees and fountains 
exist nowhere else in the world. Part of the grounds were closed 
off, for the Boches are there. We saw a few of them walking in 
their enclosure, but of course could distinguish no faces. There 
was a big crowd peering through the great iron gates but not a 
sound or a word of insult was uttered. As the Boches themselves 
say, their reception has been cold but correct. 

Tuesday, May 6, 1919. 

I hope no one will exaggerate nay little part here. There 
are at least forty Jewish representatives from different parts of 
the world, and if all claim the exclusive credit for what may 
or may not happen, Baron Munchausen won't be in it with them. 

Trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia, to try to build up the collection of 
early atlases for the Library. Adler describes in his autobiography how he used 
"to prowl around the streets of Paris from about five o'clock until dinner time," 
and that he visited hundreds of bookshops. He bought a fine collection and arranged 
with Brentano's in Paris to be his shipping agent. 



Today I made a funny find: a Purim plate of a kind I have 
never seen before. Haman is a pitiable looking object. It is 
inscribed and dated 1 795. 

May 8, 1919. 

I sent you a cable this morning about the treaty because I 
wanted you to hear from me direct that the first round in the 
fight has been won, although I have no doubt that what I 
cabled you and much more has been sent to the American 
papers. . . . 

Maybe my writing conveys to you some idea of the excitement 
everyone here is laboring under. There is no outward show, 
but the feeling is akin to that of Armistice Day. Whether the 
Germans will sign is another matter, but even if they do not, 
the necessary military measures will only in my opinion be in 
the nature of a demonstration and not of a fight. 

Oscar [S. Straus] feels very good about the League of Nations 
and has a very warm letter from the President acknowledging 
his help. . . . 

May 9, 1919. 

.... It was absolutely necessary for some responsible people 
to be here for the relief. Otherwise much unnecessary suffering 
which we could prevent would have gone on. God knows there 
is enough. 45 

Saturday night. May 10, 1919. 

.... We [with Elkan Adler] prowled among book shops, 
and as luck would have it, I struck one from which I expect 

*s A portion of every day was assigned to the relief work, On Sunday, May nth, 
Adler records: "We saw Mr. Oscar Straus and Mr. Lewis Strauss this evening, 
We agreed to telegraph to Washington for permission to create a Joint Distribution 
Committee uniform. We discussed the formation of a business corporation for 
constructive relief, also the advisability of sending a Jew as Consul-General or 
Consul to Poland." ["Diary," pp. 41-42.] 



to get a lot of old atlases. I think the Philadelphia Library will 
get a fine collection. . . . 

Sunday night. May n, 1919. 

This afternoon Marshall and I went to see Salomon Reinach. 
He lives at Boulogne. We drove through the Bois, which was 
filled with people, and the most wonderful avenues of horse 
chestnut trees. Reinach (not the one who was in America) is 
one of the most cultivated men in the world. He has a library 
of 30,000 volumes, mostly on archaeology and art. . . . 

May 12, 1919. 

.... Tonight we went to an amateur soldiers' show called 
"Who Can Tell," got up by the men of the 88th Division and 
given under the auspices of the JWB. Mr. and Mrs. O. S, 
Straus, Marshall, [Chaplain Elkan G] Voorsanger, and your 
humble servant occupied the centre box and enjoyed ourselves 
immensely. The place was packed of course with soldiers. 
There were 155 men in the cast, and those who acted as girls 
were simply killing; but the pony ballet brought down the 
house. I haven't laughed so much at anything I have seen in 
Paris, and those around me enjoyed it as much. The scenery 
was very elaborate and beautiful and the Persian ladies 
wonderful. I think the professional stage could learn something 
from the boys, and they were graceful and snappy. 

May 13, 1919. 

We had very bad news from Wilna via Copenhagen, but 
as the latter is a center of news-mongering I went to the ARA 
(American Relief Administration, L e. Hoover) to set machinery 
in motion for authentic information. By the way, no one troubles 
to use words here, but all speak in abbreviations. 
Then I met two Captains, [Ulysses Morris] Bachman and 


[Simon] Reisler, who have been attached to the Peace Commis- 
sion; 46 I would like to have them transferred to the ARA, as I 
believe they could do enormously good work in Eastern Europe. 

May 14, 1919. 

.... You will be interested to know the exact words of the 
treaty, which I got only yesterday through Oscar Straus. 

Article 93 is as follows: "Poland accepts and agrees to embody 
in a Treaty with the Principal Allied and Associated Powers 
such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the said Powers 
to protect the interests of inhabitants of Poland who differ from 
the majority of the population in race, language, or religion." 

Every word counts here, and it is much stronger than in the 
advanced summary from which I quoted in the cable. 

I must go and attend to something now because of horrible 
news from Wilna, and this is a time of peace. 

May 15, 1919. 

.... You know too from my letters that the job is not yet 
done, that there is a supplemental treaty, and that Roumania 
and Russia are still to be considered. It is our hope that a norm 
established for Poland will be applied automatically to the 
other countries. 

.... Today I spent two hours at old book shops and com- 
pleted as far as I can the collection of atlases for the Phila- 
delphia Free Library. . . . 

Midnight, May 15 [1919]. 

.... I gave a little dinner on my own account tonight, to 
Marshall, Lewis Straus [s], and Captain Bachman. As a result, 
the latter agreed to go in for relief work. . . . 

* 6 Captain Simon Reisler of Indianapolis and Captain Ulysses Morris Bachman of 
Cleveland were medical officers who served in Salonica, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, 
Serbia, Galicia, and Poland. 



Sunday night, May 18, [19] 19. 

Lewis Straus[s] (Mr. Hoover's secretary), about whom I 
have written occasionally and who is one of the dearest boys 
that ever came down the pike, sent word yesterday that he 
would like to take Marshall and me out for the day. . . . 4 7 

We first went to the Plaza to return Judge Mack's good-bye 
call. He went to London at eleven and sails on Wednesday. 
We then started off and got back at Paris dusk about 8:45, 
travelling nearly 300 miles in an open car. You should see my 
face, it is full of red roses. 

I can't possibly give you the names of all the towns and 
villages we passed through, but we were at Belleau Woods, 
now known as the Bois des Marines des fitats Unis, at CMteau- 
Thierry, at Rheims, and Fismes, up and down across the Marne, 
and saw a good part of this sector of the battle front. 

Much is already covered over, but I saw enough to make 
my blood boil anew and to feel that nothing that the Germans 
have inflicted on them in the treaty is enough. 

I have seen thousands of little dwellings shattered to atoms, 
the dugouts which sheltered the German machine guns, trenches, 
enormous holes in the ground made by great shells, barbed 
wire entanglements four rows deep (the American barbed wire 
was much better than the German). I walked through the 
Belleau Woods and saw where the battle took place, passed 
very many small cemeteries and, alas, many places on the 
roadside where there was a single grave. I walked through 
the streets of Rheims, which almost looks like a city of the dead, 

4t Adler*s affection for the young Strauss was revealed in other ways, as the 
following paragraph from Mr. Strauss's letter of February u, 1954, indicates: 

Dr. Adler was especially kind to me. Busy as he was, he took the time and 
trouble to write to my parents in Richmond, Virginia, whom he had never 
met, to give them a good report of me. I still have that letter, for my mother, 
of blessed memory, carefully treasured it, and I found it among her effects many 
years later. 



many of the streets simply pulverized, with here and there a 
part of a house standing and a few people and a goat or donkey 
inhabiting it. And the magnificent cathedral with its roof gone, 
partially defaced, but still standing in the main in ruined 
grandeur. The town of Fismes is even more of a ruin than 
Rheims almost every house shattered. No pen can paint 
these pictures, it takes the eye to see them. I saw German 
prisoners, lots of them, at work or marching in their billets, 
but well clad and well fed. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion 
that mere fiendishness was at work here, else why should every 
house in a village down in the valley, far away from the railroads, 
from any fortification, be shot to pieces? It was just damned 
deviltry; the Bodies had the guns, and these houses were targets. 
You can see signs of how they expected to own the country, for 
they had put up signs in German, which are still standing, 
giving directions as to roads, etc. When you see Rheims, you 
realize what a mercy of God it was that they did not get to Paris. 
Truly the name Huns is not undeserved. 

May 19 [1919]. 

.... The JWB will soon be over, but the relief work could 
go on indefinitely. Every day multiplies horrors. 

May 20, 1919, 10:15 P M. 

.... I had a call this morning from [Claude G.] Montefiore, 
Sir Stuart Samuel, Messrs. Henriques and Prag of London. Of 
course, the whole question is the internal? conditions in Eastern 
Europe where fourteen separate wars are now being fought. 
Still, the peace conference is slowly but surely marching to its 
end. It must stop some time, and then maybe the world will 
take the League of Nations for a trained nurse and go to bed 
for a rest cure. ... 



May ai, Midnight [1919]. 

We had terrible details tonight in connection with the fighting 
in Wilna 2,200 Jews were buried by the Hebra Kadisha; 
all the people at a service in one synagogue were killed. I 
suppose you will have read the details in the press long before 
this reaches you. The whole world seems mad. 

May 22, 1919. 

.... I hope you will meet Lewis Straus [s] some day. He 
has the judgement of a man of forty, enormous power of work, 
a kind heart, and is just a six foot kid into the bargain. . . . 

Sunday morning, May 25 [1919]. 

I spent the morning at the office of the JDG {Joint Distribution 
Committee] receiving horrible cables about pogroms from 
various sources. We have had very full direct reports of the 
great demonstration in New York. It was a good thing to have 
done. I have several times cabled to the JDC very full statements 
of the horrors we heard about. 

We have had a very full account by wire of the great dem- 
onstration in New York, which may prove of high importance. 4 8 

I am keeping a record but rather a working record my 
human one is going to you. 

If I haven't told you before, I will say now that at the latter 
end and now we are a "united front" again and while the 
temporary decision was unfortunate and created great mental 
distress to those of us who were in earnest about unity, in the 
last analysis I think no real harm was done. 

4* A cablegram of some two thousand words was sent by Jacob H. Schiffto Marshall 
and Adler, who then brought it to the attention of President Wilson. For the 
documents and additional material on this phase of their work, including the 
reports of the Morgenthau Commission, see Cyrus Adler and Aaron M. Margalith, 
With Firmness in the Right (New York, 1946), pp. 152-67. 



.... I can say of my own knowledge that it was highly 
necessary that Bogen should come over here. No hero of the 
war has done or stood what that man has gone through. I 
consider him one of the great Jewish heroes, and when the time 
comes I mean to say so. ... 

May 26, 1919. 

Today we took a long step forward, I think, both in the 
matter of rights and the stopping of pogroms. We had a half 
hour's talk with the President, who was most gracious and 
sympathetic. He looks remarkably well in view of the great 
strain he has been under, and I remarked it to him. He said: 
"Well, I ascribe it to the fact that I haven't lost my sense of 
humor." He is lodged in a very beautiful house in a lovely 
street which they call the Place des feats Unis, and very near 
it is the splendid Avenue de President Wilson. It may be that 
long before this reaches you the press may have some statement 
of this interview, though I do not know just what was given out. 

I said to Mr. Marshall as we left the house, if anybody had 
told us five years ago that we two would be talking to the 
President of the United States in Paris, we would have had him 
locked up as a lunatic. None of the others who have gone back 
to the U. S. had an interview with the President; this is the 
first that has been secured. 49 

We then spent an hour with Mr. Hoover and went over many 
phases of the relief problem. s 


4* The interview is fully described in / Have Considered the Days, pp. 313-16, and 
in the "Diary," pp. 206-9. See also Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty, II, pp. 

s Herbert Hoover records in his new volume, The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, that 
"next to the Peace Conference itself, the most important American activity during 
the peacemaking and for some time afterward was the Relief and Reconstruction of 
Europe, under my direction. Mr. Wilson often referred to it as the 'Second Amer- 
ican Expeditionary Force to Save Europe.' " See pp. 87-93, under the subdivisions 



May 27, 1919. 

... it doesn't make much difference what anyone says, the 
real point will be what was accomplished, and if we can bring 
home the accomplishment, the talk won't amount to much. 
I have, however, great confidence in the result. You must 
consider the cause and sink the personalities. Marshall has 
been wonderful, and we never could have accomplished half of 
what we will without him. After the agreement on policy this 
has been largely a lawyer's task in competition with the greatest 
international lawyers of the world, and he has more than held 
his own. Mack worked hard and, as a United States judge and 
with his other Washington connections, was of great value. . . . 

May 28, 1919. 

.... Miss [Harriet B.] Lowenstein returned from Vienna 
and Warsaw full of dreadful accounts. She showed us a piece 
of bread customarily eaten by the poor, which looked more like 
dung than anything else. I don't believe a pig would eat it. 
Well, enough of horrors. 

I had a half hour and went to Brentano's to arrange for 
the purchase of some more books for which I had received 
offers. If my credit for the Free Library holds out, I will make 
for them a great collection of atlases. 

May 29, 1919, 10:30 P.M. 

Tomorrow is Decoration Day. There are services in the 
various synagogues and churches. I am going to the Rue 
Victoire in the morning and in the afternoon, when I am on 
the Committee to receive the President. 

"The Relief and Reconstruction of Europe" and "Organizing the Relief and 



Decoration Day morning . . . we must stay for the sup- 
plementary treaties, as the main treaties have in them, so far 
as we are concerned, only generalities, and after all it is the 
details that count for everyday life. A job half done is no job 
at all. . . . The supplementary treaty about Poland is by this 
time in the hands of the Poles. We will see how they take it. 
Of course, not a word is allowed in the newspapers about it here, 
though there has been a "leak" to the London Times. Such 
leaks, however, greatly injure the papers that use them. . . . 

.... I am also convinced that Hebrew should be used as 
a spoken language and am willing, when I come home, to join 
in the movement to that end. While I am too old ever to get 
a good use of it, I realize that we must have a language in 
which we can communicate with each other. . . . 

May 30, 1919, 4P.M. 

This morning we had services at the big Synagogue, as there 
were at various churches. I enclose you the JWB program; it 
was very dignified and simple, and the addresses were short 
and touching. I confess that I openly wept. 

This afternoon at two there were services at the American 
Cemetery at Suresnes. It was a sad but wonderful occasion. Many 
thousands of Americans and French were there, and the hillsides 
were crowded with American boys in khaki, and the cemetery 
was filled with American graves. The President made a fine 
speech, and he was attended by Marshal Foch (who looks very 
much like his pictures only more weather-beaten). Ambassador 
[Hugh Campbell] Wallace, Henry White, General [Tasker 
Howard] Bliss, Admiral [Andrew Theodore] Long, and in- 
numerable French generals and other people whom I don't 
know. ... 

It is hard to judge whether the President's speech will be 
immortal, and it contained some references to immediate events, 



but I thought it very great, and certainly there are few men who 
in an even voice can address a multitude in the open air and be 


As the present titular head of the JWB overseas, I was on 
the reception committee and so had an excellent place only a 
few feet from the speaker's stand. . . . 

It did seem to me an historic occasion for the President of 
the United States to be speaking on French soil in the presence, 
alas, of so many American dead. Let us hope they did not 
die in vain. 

May 31, 1919, Saturday night. 

We feel reasonably secure, but there is danger of a joker 
being slipped in or of some perfectly well-meaning person 
dropping a monkey wrench in the machinery, so it is most 
advisable to see the thing through. 

I was talking today with the representation of the English 
Quakers, who are doing a great deal of relief work in Europe, 
and they, like us, are appalled at the immensity of the task. 

June i [1919]. 

The Matin reports this morning that the Austrian treaty was 
given in confidence yesterday to the minor powers. The Matin 
states that various representatives of the smaller powers objected 
to the clause granting rights to minorities as being an interference 
with their internal affairs. Mr. Wilson replied, justifying the 
attitude of the great powers in taking the responsibility of 
guaranteeing a reign of justice to the citizens of all the states 
born or enlarged by the war. There may be some minor changes 
made in wording, but the condition at present seems satisfactory. 
It is understood that the treaty goes to the Austrians tomorrow. 
Possibly your papers have fuller reports, as there seems to be a 



disposition to let a little more news out, but of course I don't 

Junes, 1919, 10 P.M. 

On the first day of Shebuot I went to the Portuguese Syn- 
agogue, which I like very much. It was beautifully decorated, 
and the little boys were charming. The Chief Rabbi gave a 
good sermon and read the Ten Commandments himself. When 
he goes up to preach or to the Law he is attended by two 
Shamas[h]im, and the small boys, and the whole congregation 
stands. I was seated on the banco, with the president, and every 
one who was called up walked over and shook hands with him 
and felt it necessary to shake hands with me too. . . . 

June 13, 1919. 

This is Friday afternoon, the i3th, and hasn't been a pleasant 
day as we only get more harrowing details from Eastern Europe. 
These are not new facts but the details of them. Some of them 
are intended, I think, to frighten us off from our work, but we 
are not built that way. 

June 17, 1919. 

With regard to the pogroms, it is not impossible that they 
are partly intended to scare us off from continuing our work 
here, but we are trying to set millions of people free and will 
not stop, nor do the Jewish people in Eastern Europe want us 
to stop. They want to be rid of the terrible torture of each day, 
and say that they would rather die of hunger or be killed than 
to be insulted and degraded every day. I have sent a letter to 
Dr. Bogen today, which I hope he will show in the proper 
quarters and which may at least give him some moral support 
in his very trying position in Warsaw. . . . 



June 24, 1919. 

.... The town is commencing to